NASA Contractors Changing the Space Exploration Game in 2024

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NASA Contractors Changing the Space Exploration Game in 2024

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent organization of the United States. It oversees the space industry by doing aeronautics research, space exploration, civil space technology programs, and advanced engineering systems.


The success of space-related efforts is largely due to NASA contractors dedicated to delivering reliable, sustainable, and effective solutions to bolster space and ground missions. 


We’ve gathered some of the NASA contractors who are movers and shakers of the space domain in 2024. Get to know more about the leading NASA contractors here.


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Note: The following list of NASA contractors is only ranked in no particular order. The selection criteria are based on a variety of factors, including market capitalization, revenue, overall industry impact, and government contracts. That said, while they are highly regarded in the industry, plenty of other companies also offer exceptional products and services.


ASRC Federal


ASRC Federal Official Logo
Photo by Donald Giannatti/ Unsplash | Logo/ Space Foundation


  • Revenue: $600 million (Peak revenue FY 2023)
  • Founded: 2003
  • Headquarters: Beltsville, Maryland


ASRC Federal is the government services subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The subsidiary is built on a dedication to a future for its 14,000 Iñupiat shareholders in Alaska’s North Slope.


Founded in 2003, ASRC Federal has burgeoned into a trusted IT consulting and engineering solutions provider for the federal government. Today, the NASA contractor provides services to over 30 agencies, expanding its portfolio in space, defense, civilian, health, intel, infrastructure, and national security.


ASRC Federal’s Top Contracts


On December 15, 2023, ASCR Federal was tasked with subcontracting for Space & Technology Solutions under the follow-on support to the $719 million Omnibus Multidiscipline Engineering Services III contract. The agreement entails the company to deliver hardware and software engineering services for the development of future technologies for NASA’s space and science missions.


Another significant contract award that the NASA contractor won was the $320 million IDIQ to provide repairs, operations, maintenance, and engineering capabilities for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Wallops Flight Facility. The contract was finalized in July 2023 to enable the space contractor to maintain NASA facilities that bolster space exploration and missions.


Barrios Technology


Barrios Technology Official Logo
Photo by Zakharchuk/ Shutterstock | Logo/ Barrios Technology


  • Revenue: $100 million (Peak revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 1980
  • Headquarters: Houston, Texas


Barrios Technology, LTD is a woman-owned small business located in Houston, Texas. It specializes in a wide range of engineering, operations, and other technology services supporting the space industry.


For over 40 years, Barrios Technology has anchored on innovation, possibility, and advocacy to propel humanity’s missions forward. It caters to customers effectively, maintaining its position as the leading small aerospace engineering services company. 


Among Barrios Technology’s notable accomplishments that made it one of the prime NASA contractors were supporting the Space Shuttle program, Human Spaceflight programs,  commercial Space Technologies, and projects in the oil and gas industry.


Barrios Technology Top Contracts


In July 2023, NASA selected Barrios Technology to serve as a major subcontractor for the Integrated Mission Operations Contract (IMOC) III, a $1.93 billion nine-year contract awarded to another NASA contractor, KBR. 


Under IMOC III, Barrios Technology is tasked to provide services supporting spaceflight operations, avionics and software development, and capability development execution for the Flight Operations Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.


Related article: NASA Taps Barrios Technology to Support Marshall Space Flight Center




Boeing Official Logo
Photo by Jose Antonio Perez/ Shutterstock | Logo/ Boeing


  • Revenue: $77.79 billion (Annual revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 1916
  • Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia


The Boeing Company is one of the largest NASA contractors as a leading manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft, defense and space security systems, and weapon and artillery systems.


For over 100 years, Boeing has committed to the legacy of aerospace, technology, and innovation leadership to serve its customers, invest in its people, and pave the path for a technologically powered future.


Boeing Top Contracts


In 2014, NASA tapped into Boeing’s capabilities to build a line of reusable spacecraft called the Starliner. The contract was valued at nearly $5 billion as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract round.


On March 22, 2024, NASA and Boeing announced the schedule of the first crewed flight of the Starliner no later than May 1, 2024. Mark Nappi, Vice President and Manager of the Starliner program, said, “The CFT flight is really the introduction of the crew into our vehicle systems, so a lot of our flight test objectives are about how that interface will work.”


California Institute of Technology


CalTech Official Logo
Photo by Laurel and Michael Evans/ Unsplash | Logo/ California Institute of Technology


  • Revenue: $3.4 billion (Peak revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 1891
  • Headquarters: Pasadena, California


The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is a private research university known for its strength in science and engineering. For over 100 years, it has devoted itself to following pure and applied science and furthering advanced scientific research. That devotion has marked CalTech as one of the leading NASA contractors.


In 1936, CalTech established the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as NASA’s primary facility for constructing robotic spacecraft, conducting Earth-orbit and astronomy missions, and operating the agency’s Deep Space Network.


CalTech Top Contracts


In February 2024, NASA and the California Institute of Technology announced a new mission to analyze ultraviolet light and how stars and galaxies evolve


The mission involves the development of UltraViolet Explorer (UVEX), a special space telescope that enables astronomers to get new views of the universe, identify low-metallicity galaxies, and unravel spectroscopic data vital for future space research.


UVEX is scheduled to launch in 2030 as a part of NASA’s Astrophysics Medium-Class Explorer mission.


Related article: NASA Taps Ball Aerospace to Deliver Laser Prestabilization System for Gravitational Wave Detector




Jacobs Technology Official Logo
Photo by Matt Artz/ Unsplash | Logo/ Jacobs Technology


  • Revenue: $4.2 billion (Q1 revenue FY2024)
  • Founded: 1947
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas


Jacobs is a business consulting and services firm that specializes in delivering impactful and cutting-edge solutions for intelligence, cybersecurity, infrastructure, and space exploration. For over 70 years, the firm has anchored on its mission and vision to “challenge today and reinvent tomorrow” in fostering a more sustainable, connected, smarter, and future-enabled world.


Jacobs’ space exploration solutions include intelligence gathering, remote sensing, Earth observation, and communications and navigation. Its dedication to bolstering space-related tasks has made it one of the foremost NASA contractors.


Jacobs Top Contracts


January 2024 marked a significant milestone in Jacobs’ status as a NASA contractor as it won two contracts from NASA.


On January 2, 2024, Jacobs booked a six-month contract extending the work and support for NASA’s Langley Research Operations. This contract was a follow-on to a 10-year agreement that the space contractor won in September 2023.


Under the extension contract, the NASA  contractor is tasked to continue providing work for the research facilities and central utilities operations. It is set to work on wind tunnels, laboratories, test stands, administration efforts, and technology development.


Two weeks later, on January 16, 2024, Jacobs secured another contract to support NASA’s Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA) program at the Johnson Space Center.


Under the CHAPEA program, Jacobs helps in the operation of a ground-based 3D-printed habitat that mimics the year-long stays on the surface of Mars. By simulating the environment of the Red Planet, NASA is preparing the four-person crew of CHAPEA for deployment in future Artemis missions.


Related article: NASA Continues Space Launch System Rocket Testing for Future Artemis Missions




KBR Official Logo
Photo by metamorworks/ Shutterstock | Logo/ KBR


  • Revenue: $7.4 billion to $7.7 billion (Q1 revenue FY2024)
  • Founded: 1919
  • Headquarters: Houston, Texas


KBR, Inc. was born from merging two engineering and construction companies: the M.W. Kellogg Company of New York and Brown & Root of Texas. Over its 100-year legacy, the company has ventured beyond the construction industry, expanding its portfolio in science, technology, logistics, defense, cybersecurity, aerospace, and sustainability capabilities.


As a NASA contractor, KBR has provided impactful services that aid in the training and care of American astronauts. It has been entrusted to propel space exploration and missions, such as building advanced spacecraft and deploying telescopes.


KBR Top Contracts


KBR continues to shine as a leading NASA contractor as it earned a spot among the 12 companies awarded for the Research, Engineering & Mission Integration Services-2 (REMIS-2) contract.


With a contract value of $478 million, KBR and 11 other contractors have been tasked with providing spaceflight and ground software and hardware services. The contract covered sustaining engineering functions, payload facilities, and research mission integration until September 2032.


Related article: KBR Delivers Strong Q4 & Fiscal 2023 Results, $21.7B Backlog at Year-End; Stuart Bradie, Mark Sopp Quoted


Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin Official Logo
Photo by Steve Mann/ Shutterstock | Logo/ Lockheed Martin


  • Revenue: $70 billion (Q1 revenue FY2024) 
  • Founded: 1995
  • Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland


Lockheed Martin is one of the most recognizable NASA contractors. Carrying the legacy and success of its “parents,” Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta, it has been a trusted provider of weapons, aerospace capabilities, and information security technology for the United States government and international allies.


In its 20-year run in the industry, Lockheed Martin has developed space systems that empower the next generation of astronauts and space scientists. Under its belt are spacecraft that have visited eight planets, over 300 mission payloads tailored to customers, and over a million hours of successful planetary spacecraft operations.


Lockheed Martin Top Contracts


In July 2023, NASA and DARPA awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to engineer a spacecraft equipped with a nuclear rocket engine to take astronauts to Mars. The contract is part of the DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations) initiative, which was launched in January 2023. 


Under the contract, Lockheed Martin was tasked to develop nuclear thermal propulsion (NPT) rockets. Among NPT’s advantages over chemically propelled rockets are:


  • Enhanced efficiency and agility, allowing the craft to travel faster and farther
  • Reduced propellant makes more room for storing scientific equipment
  • Upgraded abort scenarios, enabling easy alteration of the ship’s trajectory for expedited return trips
  • Refined thrust power, enabling faster and safer launch and landing for the spacecraft


Kirk Shireman, VP of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin, said, “These more powerful and efficient nuclear thermal propulsion systems can provide faster transit times between destinations; Reducing transit time is vital for human missions to Mars to limit a crew’s exposure to radiation.”


Northrop Grumman


Northrop Grumman Official Logo
Photo by EmiliaUngur/ Shutterstock | Logo/ Northrop Grumman


  • Revenue: $39.29 billion (Annual revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 1994
  • Headquarters: West Falls Church, Virginia


Northrop Grumman is a household name in the GovCon industry. Born through the merging of Northrop and Grumman, the company leverages nearly 100 years of excellence in developing and delivering solutions for the defense, military, information technology, and space exploration domains.


Northrop Grumman’s influential presence as one of the noteworthy NASA contractors has solidified its credibility in the government’s most critical missions. Since the early 2000s, the Virginia-based company has actively contributed to NASA’s programs and missions, such as the development of the early model of the Orion spacecraft and the launch of the Artemis initiative. 


Northrop Grumman Top Contracts


Artemis is a large-scale program by NASA aimed at reestablishing human presence on the Moon. NASA once again entrusted Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor to build a railway on the Moon.


Over the next ten years, Northrop Grumman must develop a railway system plan, making transportation of humans, equipment, and other resources more efficient. The future railway system will be crucial for simplifying logistics and combining outposts to be deployed on the surface of the Moon.


RTX Corporation


Northrop Grumman Official Logo
Photo by Meriç Dağlı / Unsplash | Logo/ RTX


  • Revenue: $68.92 billion (Annual revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 2020
  • Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia


RTX Corporation, formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, is a leading defense and space manufacturing company for critical aerospace missions. Since its time as Raytheon, it has developed missile systems, advanced sensors, hypersonics, and advanced cyber solutions for the government.


Operating under RTX are three business units, namely:


  • Collins Aerospace – designs and develops aerospace products and systems for commercial, regional, and international markets.
  • Pratt & Whitney – designs and develops gas turbine and aircraft engines
  • Raytheon – combines the former Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS), Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD), and the former ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) of Collins Aerospace


RTX Corp. Top Contracts


On October 23, 2023, RTX’s Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney were chosen to collaborate with Boeing for the X-66A flight demonstrator, a program under NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project.


The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator is a program aimed at developing aircraft technologies in line with the goal of net-zero carbon emissions. Under this collaboration, Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace are set to support Boeing’s manufacturing of GTF Engines for future aircraft. 


In addition, the two RTX business units are tasked to support ground and flight tests scheduled to start in 2028.




SpaceX Official Logo
Photo by SpaceX/ Unsplash | Logo/ SpaceX


  • Revenue: $8.7 billion (Annual revenue FY2023)
  • Founded: 2002
  • Headquarters: Hawthorne, California


SpaceX, formally known as the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, is a leading developer and provider of defense and satellite solutions for the federal government. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, it was first established with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and developing a sustainable colony on planet Mars.


SpaceX’s services range from building spacecraft and satellite constellations to testing and launching spacecraft outside of Earth. Among the company’s well-known offerings are the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, Dragon and Starship spacecraft, and Starlink satellite constellations. 


SpaceX Top Contracts


On March 14, 2024, SpaceX reached another milestone in NASA’s Artemis program when the third integrated flight test of its Starship human landing system was executed successfully.


According to NASA, the Starship’s Super Heavy booster was propelled by 33 Raptor engines; after a detachment via a hot-staging technique, the SpaceX craft successfully launched and reached its target orbit.


A highlight of the flight test was the inaugural large-scale demonstration of in-orbit cryogenic propellant transmission from one internal tank to another. This demonstration was essential for furthering the missions required by the Artemis program.


You might also want to read: NASA Posts Solicitation for Ames Research Center Technical Services Contract

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Tags: Department of Defense DoD government contracting NASA NASA Contractors National Aeronautics and Space Administration space exploration US Space Force