NASA Economic Impact Assessment

Assessing the impact of NASA's main operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia

RDN conducted an economic impact study evaluating the financial and employment impacts of operations at two Virginia-based NASA facilities: Langley Research Center and Wallops Flight Facility. This study evaluated the direct, indirect, and induced impacts of facility expenditures at a national, state, and local level.

RDN performed the economic analysis using IMPLAN Pro 2017, which links interindustry purchases and sales in a specific study area to calculate the impacts per dollar of spending on jobs and economic output. The analysis accounted for external factors including spatial effects of the place of performance of NASA contracts, the place of residency of all on-site NASA employees, and for the inter-industry effects of NASA’s contract spending based on the industry of each contract.

The study found that NASA’s Virginia operations generate the following economic benefits:

  • $3.2 billion and 23,158 jobs in the United States
  • $1.4 billion and 10,613 jobs in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • $901.5 million and 8,347 jobs in the Hampton Roads MSA

The analysis further indicates that $1.2 million of that economic benefit is from NASA’s direct operational spending and 2,078 of the jobs are civil service employees working directly for NASA, while the remaining economic benefits and jobs are related to the flow-through effects of this spending and employment. NASA published the major findings of the study in their 2019 annual report.