The city firm set for lift off in the space industry
PUBLISHED: 05:04 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:38 23 March 2018
Archant © 2018
At a glance Houston, Texas, may not have a lot in common with Norwich but both cities are home to companies which have played their part in the space race.
Micross Components has built parts which have been on more than 100 successful space missions working with agencies, like NASA and the European Space Agency, governments and commercial companies.
The firm, which has its UK headquarters in Hellesdon Park Road, builds and tests semi-conductors to work in harsh environments such as those found in space, down deep drill holes in the oil and gas industry and on aircraft in the aviation sector.
Now the business is aiming to grow along with the global space industry, which is estimated to be worth in excess of £400bn by 2030.
Europe Operations managing director Richard Gibbs said the company’s components have to undergo weeks of testing to ensure they are capable of withstanding extreme heat and pressure.
He said: “If you are building an electrical board to go into space for some mission critical equipment you have to be sure that it will work.
“During launch you are putting it under extreme pressures, G-force, accelerations, decelerations, huge shock and vibrations. It has to work through all that and then continue to work once the equipment is up in orbit. You can’t send an engineer up there to fix it.”
Micross, which reported a turnover of £17.6m in 2016, is bolstering its 65-strong team, having expanded into a third industrial unit last year, and will be adding four or five jobs in the coming months and was looking to launch an apprenticeship-style programme.
Mr Gibbs said: “It is not easy to find the right people with the right qualifications, as you might imagine, but once we take them on we train people up.
“Norwich is a lovely city to live in and it would be great if there was a bigger focus on technology within the city so that more people and more companies start migrating here.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who visited the company last week for a tour of the Norwich factory where the business has been for some 30 years, said businesses like Micross had a big part to play int he region’s economy. She said: “We should be proud of the innovators and job-creators we have in Norfolk. If we celebrate them we can attract more.”