An international engineering and solutions company in the cybersecurity and space sectors is the first tenant at a new co-working space at the North East Technology Park (NETPark).

RHEA Group has opened a new office at the Satellite Applications Catapult CO-SPACE at NETPark in Sedgefield, County Durham, to join the region’s growing space sector.

The firm, which provides tailored engineering solutions, system development and security services for the space sector, along with military, government, and critical infrastructures, is established across Europe and Canada and is expanding within the UK.

The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence has opened the new Catapult CO-SPACE to create an environment that encourages innovation through collaboration, mentorship, and networking. The Centre is managed by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council.

RHEA Group is the first company to take advantage of the flexible shared workplace, which is ideal for companies who want to engage with the Catapult and other organisations in the North East’s growing cluster of space companies.

John Bone, Chief Commercial Officer of RHEA Group and Chair of the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, said: “We already work closely with the country’s space industry and the UK Space Agency, including my own role as Chair of the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, so as the space sector expands in this region, we want to ensure RHEA is close by to maximise opportunities for collaboration.

“We also see potential in the area for a cyber-range, another area of specialisation within RHEA, which enables companies to prepare thoroughly for cyberattacks, including training their staff. RHEA Group is a growing business internationally and the UK, in particular the North East, offers significant potential for investment and growth.”

The aim of the Centre’s CO-SPACE is to create a vibrant entrepreneurial environment for small and medium enterprises, large industry, start-up/scale-up companies, academic researchers and end-users, so they can work together to develop new satellite-based services, technologies and applications.

The launch of the CO-SPACE builds on the success of the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, which has been managed by Business Durham since 2014. Funded by the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult, the Centre has been stimulating and growing the space economy in the region. Over the last six years, it has engaged with over 670 organisations, established links between 277 business and universities, and helped companies secure £9.2M worth of funding.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted to welcome RHEA GROUP to the new CO-SPACE. The company has been involved with the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence at NETPark for several years and it’s fantastic to see them raise the profile of the North East within the wider space network, nationally and beyond.

“With more businesses in the UK choosing to relocate from the south and with the space sector growing rapidly here in the North East, we are looking forward to supporting and attracting more companies like RHEA Group to NETPark.”

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “It is fantastic to see the first tenant move into the CO-SPACE at NETPark. An expanding space sector here in the North East will provide some fantastic job opportunities for people in the region, particularly in County Durham, and help the county’s economy to grow further.

“The CO-SPACE offers an excellent working environment and provides companies with the opportunity to collaborate on their new satellite-based services and technologies. I’m sure RHEA Group will thrive here and we are looking forward to welcoming more organisations to NETPark to see those flourish too.”

Dr. Nafeesa Dajda, Head of Regional Growth at Satellite Applications Catapult said: “We are excited to welcome our first business, RHEA Group, to the new North East Co-Space. The North East co-space is the first of a network of connected co-spaces across the UK, which will provide space sector organisations with the same unique benefits and business support provided by the Satellite Applications Catapult, irrespective of location.”