ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

Northern Space and Security Limited (NorSS) has announced that it’s planning to expand over the coming 12 months.

Chronicle Live reported on the Northumberland aerospace firm’s fortunes, which are looking up thanks to its specialisms of space awareness and surveillance.

The company is intending to bid for projects with both the UK and European Space agencies this year, as well as other contracts within the defence sector.

Speaking to the news provider, founder of the firm Ralph Dinsley commented: “Expertise in the area of space surveillance and tracking is limited. A growing recognition of the need for space traffic management means NorSS will be able to exploit an emerging concept.”

With increased demand for knowledge and skills in this area, NorSS is hoping to be able to grow its business and the size of its team.

It recently joined a space incubation programme being run by Business Durham in collaboration with the UK Space Agency. The aim of this scheme is to provide specialist businesses like NorSS with access to support across areas like marketing, financial management, business growth and IP protection.

Just over the border, Scotland is carving itself out as the ideal place for space tech businesses, with the Sunday Herald pointing out at the end of 2017 that one in five employees in the UK’s space sector are employed north of the border.

Scotland is particularly well-known within the industry for producing satellites, manufacturing more satellites than any other country in Europe at present.

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British med-tech (medical technology) companies have set their sights on the Middle Eastern marketplace to forge new business relationships and ultimately turn a profit.

Med Tech News reported that the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) revealed that half of UK med-tech businesses are anticipating demand from the Middle East in the coming five years.

These results come as 200 British companies prepare to exhibit at Arab Health, the MENA region's largest healthcare exhibition and a hotbed for new technologies entering the market.

ABHI revealed that 51 per cent of respondents to its survey anticipate a better turnover from business with the Middle East - which is home to major health tourism hubs like Dubai - while the Association's policy group has identified the region as key for growth.

"When we consider the substantial investment into public health from the government of the UAE, and wider Middle East, opportunities for UK companies providing value-based healthcare solutions are significant," said Managing director, International, at ABHI, Paul Benton.

"With so many companies planning to increase their presence in the region, Arab Health is the ideal platform to drive this growth and the UK Pavilion promises to be a hub of activity."

The ABHI is exploring emerging markets to ensure the British med-tech industry stays healthy after the UK leaves the EU.

The organisation's Healthy Outside The EU Strategy was published in April 2017 and encourages the industry to branch out and to be positive and constructive to its approach to business post-Brexit.

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Electron beam services are essential for high precision engineering, and the UK sector just got a boost.

Glasgow-based Walker Precision Engineering has just received a £4million boost in the form of an investment from the Business Growth Fund.

This money will be used to fund an expansion in its machine capacity by developing a new purpose build facility in Basildon, and doubling the capacity at its Poland premises.

The business, which has premises in Glasgow, Basildon and Poland, says that it needs to expand in order to fulfil the recent rise in demand that has been brought about by the growing space market in Scotland. We reported on this last month.

Managing director Mark Walker, who founded the business in 1979 with his brother said: "Now is the right time to bring on board a minority investor.

"BGF's funding will help us pursue new opportunities in the market faster than we would otherwise have been able to do, without losing control of the business."

The company has already been involved in the Galileo global navigation satellite system and is forging close links with the International Space Agency.

BGF is backed by Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Standard Chartered which provide growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses for a minority stake.

Scotland now builds more satellites than any other country, and employs over 7,000 people in the space sector alone.

The space sector is set to grow significantly in coming years, and many are excited about the emerging role Scotland will play in that. Hopefully this latest grant will go some way to cementing its place on the global map.
Scotland has developed to become the space technology hub of Europe, an article for the Sunday Herald recently stated.

The newspaper pointed out that the nation now builds more satellites than any other country on the continent, and the sector employs over 7,000 people north of the border, which accounts for nearly one in five of all UK jobs in the space industry.

Tom Walkinshaw, founder of Alba Orbital, which builds miniature satellites in Glasgow, explained that Scotland’s burgeoning space industry is helping people consider the area for a career in the sector, where before you’d need to travel to the likes of Holland or Germany to progress in the sector.

He also predicted that Scotland is well-placed to make the most of the rapid growth predicted for the space tech sector.

“In the next 10 years there will be about 10,000 new space startups globally. There will be a massive growth rate. It’s going to happen and I’m glad it’s also happening here,” he stated.

Dr Malcolm Macdonald, director of SoXSA: Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, is optimistic about what the future holds for the industry, as well as Scotland’s part in that.

He told the news provider that “today we have an almost full end-to-end commercial capability in Scotland, supported by a similarly capable academic sector”.

Last month, highlighted some of the reasons why the space sector is so important for Scotland economically, including the fact that it had an estimated turnover of £134 million in 2012/13, something that’s predicted to grow.

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A satellite the size of a loaf of bread has been launched by NASA as part of a series of wireless sensor experiments.

The Technology Educational Satellite, known as TechEdSat-6, was launched to the International Space Station on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft and released into low-Earth orbit earlier this month to conduct a series of self-powered tests.

TechEdSat-6’s experiments will seek to expand the capabilities of wireless sensor networks for re-entry or ascent systems.

Carrying an updated version of the Exo-Brake parachute technology - an exo-atmospheric braking device - TechEdSat-6 will demonstrate controlled re-entry of small craft to return experiments safely from space, NASA has said.

“The Exo-Brake’s shape can be changed to vary the drag on the satellite,” commented Michelle Munk, NASA’s system capability lead for entry, descent and landing.

“With the help of high-fidelity simulations, we will demonstrate a low-cost, propellant-less method of returning small payloads quickly, and to fairly precise locations, for retrieval.”

The goal of the experiment is to return samples from space but also to develop the building blocks necessary for larger-scale systems that may enable small spacecraft to reach the surface of planets like Mars in the future.

TechEdSat-6 is the fourth satellite to carry an updated version of the Exo-Brake - a project funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development programme, NASA’s Ames Research Center and the Engineering and Safety Center.

The TechEdSat series is a collaborative endeavour between NASA employees and several universities, combining elements of science, technology, engineering and maths.

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The Bloodhound Supersonic car has undergone its first test runs this month. The vehicle has been made with the help of Rolls-Royce, which has supplied the engine for the car, sourcing this particular piece of kit from a Eurofighter Typhoon.

According to the Derby Telegraph, the engineering team on the Bloodhound project have been using the firm’s testing facilities ahead of getting the car on a runway.

The civil aerospace division at Sinfin has been used to test the wheels, for instance. But this week the vehicle made its first test runs in Newquay.

It reached a speed of 210mph on the runway at Newquay Airport on 26 October, the BBC reported, with the team now confident that it can reach its designed performance - speeds of up to 1,000mph.

Pilot RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, who is tasked with driving the super-high-speed vehicle, told the news provider that the test runs were hard work for the car’s brakes.

He said the front brakes were “smoking furiously” following the second run, commenting: “They started to just flicker with flame - very sort of Formula One, but in a proper high-speed car. And that was exactly what we were hoping for.”

Next year the Bloodhound and its team will head to South Africa, where 12 miles of a dried out lake bed will allow the car to reach much greater speeds. The current world land speed record stands at 763mph, although with the introduction of rocket technology in 2019, the aim is to get the Bloodhound to the 800mph barrier initially, and then the 1,000mph barrier a year later.

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The biggest defence contractor in the UK, BAE Systems, has announced that it will be cutting up to 1,300 jobs at its military aerospace arm over the next three years, as well as an additional 375 in maritime services and 150 at the company’s cyber intelligence business.

According to the Guardian, the cuts are expected to be brought in by January 1st, affecting not just those on the production line but also managers as well. The aerospace bases at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire will suffer 750 job losses – double what was seen back in 2015.

In Portsmouth, 340 dockyard jobs are due to go, 245 at RAF bases in Marham and Leeming, and 150 positions in Guildford and Lodnon, as well as other cyber intelligence sites.

Chief executive of BAE Charles Woodburn explained that these cuts are necessary, saying: “The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology. I recognise this will be difficult news for some of our employees and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”

Meanwhile, engineers from BAE Systems will now be solely responsible for supporting two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, as well as the rest of the fleet based at Portsmouth. The Ministry of Defence has now amended its contract with the company to include the Queen Elizabeth Class, with all classes of ships home ported at Portsmouth Naval Base covered under the arrangement.

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Electron beam technology could be at the forefront of plans to introduce high-speed 5G wireless data coverage, producing speeds of up to 100 gb per second.

A European project, led by a team of UK engineers, is exploring how exploiting the millimetre wave spectrum could provide a cost-effective, efficient means of accessing data through 5G wireless networks.

Wireless devices, which already use more data that desktop computers and the like, are set to eat up even more data with the advancement of 4k video streaming and other services. Increasing the amount of available wireless data would involve laying grids of micro, nano and pico cells in urban areas to serve a small number of users, which could be expensive and difficult to execute.

Professor Claudio Paoloni at Lancaster University said that existing base stations are fed data via fibres, “but if the number of cells were to increase substantially, the fibre would be very difficult and expensive to install”.

The professor, who is heading the €2.9 million (£2.56 million) ULTRAWAVE project, is developing a system based on a millimetre wave travelling wave tube that transmits data wirelessly. An electron beam is sent along the long vacuum tube, along with the millimetre wave signal. The mass of electrons then loses kinetic energy and transfers it to the signal, commented the professor.

“As a result, the signal increases in power to a level that is impossible with any other technique,” he added.

The project was presented to the public earlier this month at Lancaster University’s Kickoff Workshop and is expected to run until 2020.

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Bottled water brand Evian, which is part of the Danone Group, has unveiled its new bottling site, which has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust.

According to, this is part of Evian’s bid to become the first carbon-neutral Danone brand by 2020. The new production facility in France is the first step on this journey, and can produce 72,000 bottles of water per hour.

The facility is fully powered by renewable energy and all the bottles produced there are 100 per cent recyclable. Evian also announced that it plans to invest €280 million in a new facility that will produce all Evian water bottles sold worldwide.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s chief executive, said he was very proud to open the new facility. “This achievement combines a unique workplace organisation, a shift to digital technology, and technologies and sustainable solutions at the cutting edge of our sector worldwide,” he stated.

As well as producing bottles that can be recycled, the firm intends to use 100 per cent recycled materials for all of its packaging by 2020. By the end of this year, the company estimates that 25 per cent of the materials it uses will be from recycled plastics.

Plastic pollution is known to be a huge problem for the planet and one that more and more people are trying to combat. Earlier this month, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that she supports a deposit return scheme on glass, plastic and aluminium bottles and cans.

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The Egyptian government has signed three new oil and gas exploration deals with Royal Dutch Shell and Apex International Energy, covering a total of 16 sites in the country’s Western Desert.

It is a boost for Egypt, which has been looking to entice foreign investors back to its energy sector. The deals for exploring these new fields are worth $81.4 million in total.

Shell is set to invest $35.5 million following its deal, while Apex will be spending $45.9 million on two projects in the Middle Eastern country.

At one time Egypt was a net exporter of oil, but has become a net importer in recent years because demand has increased while production has fallen.

Daily News Egypt reported that Tarek El-Molla, the country’s minister of petroleum, explained that the ministry is hoping to attract a greater level of foreign investment in oil and gas exploration, helping it to exploit the potential of a number of areas.

Mr El-Molla also revealed that the sites in the Western Desert are of particular interest to US companies, like Apex, which is going to be operating in Egypt for the first time after signing these deals.

Oil and gas exploration activities aren’t without their risks though, as Statoil recently discovered. The oil giant revealed that its exploratory drilling in the Arctic has been “disappointing”, explaining that the volumes of natural gas it discovered weren’t large enough for commercial development.

However, the firm revealed that it will continue exploration activities in the region, noting that it intends to drill further exploratory wells in the south-east of the Barents Sea in 2018.

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