NASA Publishes Second Economic Impact Report


NASA released its second economic impact report on Thursday, noting that it generated more than $71.2 billion in total economic output during fiscal year 2021. The study found that NASA’s activities supported more than 339,600 jobs and generated almost $7.7 billion in federal, state and local taxes for the year. Conducted by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the report (PDF) was designed to serve as “an assessment of the economic impacts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the agency’s Moon to Mars (M2M) campaign, and their investments in climate change research and technology for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.”

“While our work will always push the limits throughout the cosmos, it also strengthens the planet beneath our feet,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA partners with small businesses, industry, academia, and other government agencies to address engineering challenges, and to transfer out our technologies, capabilities, and data all for public benefit here on Earth. NASA may be a small federal agency, but we punch above our weight, fueling growth in American industry with good-paying, quality jobs in all 50 states and maintaining our leadership in space and science.”

According to the report, M2M activities generated more than $20.1 billion in total economic output and supported more than 93,700 jobs nationwide. The study also found that NASA’s investments in climate research and technology accounted for more than $7.4 billion in total economic output and supported more than 37,000 jobs across the country. Compared to the agency’s first economic impact report, which was generated for FY 2019, NASA’s FY 2021 economic output increased by 10.7 percent.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. If I were Uber wealthy, I would go on vacation for a month and get an economic impact report done on my trip. I bet the people I hired to do it could show my impact was greater than I spent by some exponential amount. Surely, my wise and fatherly advice to the resort staff will save them all millions over their lifetimes while simultaneously improving their career and marriage prospects.

    These reports are mostly a waste of taxpayer money which won’t be collected for years now as the money printer go brrrrrrr.

    Any chance there could be an editorial piece attached to all these things in the future pointing out the inherent flaws in these reports?

  2. At least NASA can say they have actually produced some useful product.

    Here in California, we get a steady flow of this stuff generated by the bottomless money pit they still call the High-Speed Rail Project. Since all hope of high speed has been abandoned and the project will not be completed for generations, if ever, the reports mostly rest on our state government’s all-purpose vote buying phrase “good paying union jobs”.

    • NASA’s a great outfit. One time though, after the Apollo Program ended, they hit upon the idea of scrutinizing manufactured aircraft for improvements and safety concerns. They selected a plane, tested it, made measurements, evaluated systems, performance data and other parameters, then published a report with several criticisms. As Richard Collins, who was the editor of Flying Magazine, pointed out, NASA did not disclose the aircraft type, but they did provide a three-view drawing of the plane. Needless to say, it was not difficult to determine which aircraft NASA selected: A Cessna 210! That raised a lot of eyebrows around the industry, and particularly at Cessna.

  3. NASA got the Manned Mars Flight funding yanked out from under them just when such a mission was feasible. Back then, the dollar was worth almost a dollar. Now inflation has made NASA’s operations too expensive. I would surely relish seeing manned modules plopped on the Red Planet, with astronauts traipsing around those regions. America led the Space Race by 10 furlongs during the Apollo Program, and we all beamed proudly when Lunar missions succeeded. This space station jazz should be ended, and the focus of NASA should be on interplanetary missions.