HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This week, Marshall Space Flight Center will host its first Small Business Alliance meeting of the new year.
About 450 representatives of large and small businesses will be at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center to talk about opportunities for work coming up to support Marshall.
Already, Marshall is making a big difference for small businesses supporting the Space Launch System project.
North Alabama engineers are putting together another key piece of the Space Launch System.
Teledyne Brown Engineering secured a $60 million contract with NASA to build the Launch Vehicle Stages Adapter, which connects the Orion capsule to the core stage.
"It electrically connects the two so that they can command and control back and forth," said Dan Jett, project manager for the LVSA program. "Then it also protects the delicate avionics that are in the propulsion system from the severe launch environments."
As it turns out, the adapter is also protecting small businesses around north Alabama.
The project means a big boost to at least seven small companies, allowing them to expand their work force and expertise.
"We're very excited about this growth opportunity for us," said Jami Peyton, the founder and CEO of Canvas Inc. "It's seven new jobs, new positions for us."
The project is Canvas Incorporated's first contract with NASA, which is a new scope for them.
"It's a very big deal to us," said Peyton.
"Financially, it has helped provide stability for the employees that we did have," said Tamra Ozbolt, president of Emerald City Initiatives, Inc. "Otherwise, without this opportunity and this win, I would have been in a position to lay off nearly all of my company."
Ozbolt's company will also help build a test adapter and two finished adapters for future SLS missions.
And the companies involved hope the SLS project will create even more jobs in and around the Rocket City for companies aiming to be part of space exploration.
Those companies will be among many others at the Small Business Alliance meeting Thursday at the Davidson Center to discuss project opportunities coming up at Marshall.
Marshall does this four times a year to help small businesses identify work that aligns with their expertise.