A November 1971 study of NASA released by the Midwest Research Institute of Kansas City, Missouri ("Technological Progress and Commercialization of Communications Satellites." In: "Economic Impact of Stimulated Technological Activity") concluded that "the $25 billion in 1958 dollars spent on civilian space R & D during the 1958-1969 period has returned $52 billion through 1971 -- and will continue to produce pay offs through 1987, at which time the total pay off will have been $181 billion. The discounted rate of return for this investment will have been 33 percent."
A 1992 article in the British science journal Nature reported
"The economic benefits of NASA's programs are greater than generally realized. The main beneficiaries (the American public) may not even realize the source of their good fortune. . ."
Other statistics on NASA's economic impact may be found in the 1976 Chase Econometrics Associates, Inc. reports ("The Economic Impact of NASA R&D Spending: Preliminary Executive Summary.", April 1975. Also: "Relative Impact of NASA Expenditure on the Economy.", March 18, 1975) and backed by the 1989 Chapman Research report, which examined 259 non-space applications of NASA technology during an eight-year period (1976–1984) and found more than:
— $21.6 billion in sales and benefits;
— 352,000 (mostly skilled) jobs created or saved,and;
— $355 million in federal corporate income taxes
According to the "Nature" article, these 259 applications represent ". . .only 1% of an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Space program spin-offs."
In 2002, the aerospace industry accounted for $95 billion of economic activity in the United States, including $23.5 billion in employee earnings dispersed among some 576,000 employees (source: Federal Aviation Administration, March 2004).