NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hundreds of companies are hoping to profit after the successful test flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft today from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. But for firms that make Orion's larger components and systems, the spacecraft's orbital journey means these companies will continue to be fueled by NASA's funding tap.
NASA plans on spending about $1 billion per year further developing the Orion space capsule and another $7 billion on the Space Launch System (SLS), as the space agency aims to eventually deliver manned missions to Mars. There will be more than enough money to spread around to the large aerospace and defense contractors working on the project, as well as the 500 small businesses affiliated with the project.
The number of Orion missions have not been set, but a series of test flights are scheduled. The next text flight is expected to take place in 2018, with the first orbital manned mission slated for sometime in 2020.
Here are a few of the project's primary contractors:
Lockheed Martin's (LMT) Space Systems Co. is the program manager and primary contractor for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The areospace and defense contractor is also participating in the Orion project through its investment in United Launch Alliance, which is co-owns with Boeing (BA) . United Launch Alliance developed the Delta IV Heavy Rocket which lifted the Orion into orbit today.