A handful of Connecticut companies are looking to the stars.


Seven state firms were among the nearly 400 companies nationwide awarded contracts by NASA to conduct feasibility studies for new technologies.


The companies were each awarded contracts of $125,000 under NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs new technologies.


The seven Connecticut companies — all of which work on energy creation, generation, technology and research, are: Proton Energy Systems (Wallingford), Precision Combustion (North Haven), Flightware (Guilford), Materials Technologies Corp. (Monroe), Qualtech Systems (East Hartford), Sustainable Innovations (East Hartford) and Thoughtventions Unlimited (Glastonbury).


The areas of research include development of high-pressure oxygen generation systems for greater air storage, energy-efficient carbon dioxide storage and automated inspection processes for component materials.


NASA selected 383 small businesses and research institutions from 37 states for these six-month, Phase I contracts, for which $125,000 was the maximum amount given.