Hard on the heels of Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT ) announcement that it's getting into the energy infrastructure business, its partner, NASA -- yes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- had an even more surprising revelation of its own Tuesday: NASA is looking to make some commercial profits of its own.
And not just by selling telescopes, space-themed toys, and NASA windbreakers at its stores, either. NASA's looking to make some serious scratch by retooling its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to manufacture liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks for commercial use on Earth.
At a joint press conference in New Orleans, standing beside Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and representatives from Lockheed, NASA representatives confirmed that they will be cooperating with Lockheed to use their "unique experience and equipment at Michoud to manufacture the LNG tanks." (Don't worry ... NASA's still making space gas-tanks, too).
Financial terms of the arrangement among Lockheed, NASA, and the Louisiana government have not yet been disclosed, but details should begin filtering out soon. According to Lockheed, the company has already begun receiving orders from customers who would like it to manufacture cryogenic tanks for fueling LNG-powered vessels. Once sales begin finalizing, and orders delivered, the details of how these three entities are divvying up the profits should become clearer.
Industrial Production in U.S. Increases by Most in Three Months
May 15, 2013
Industrial production rose more than forecast in February as U.S. factories turned out more business equipment and motor vehicles, showing manufacturing is helping boost the economy.
Output at factories, mines and utilities climbed 0.7 percent, the most in three months and exceeding the median projection in a Bloomberg survey, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington. January production was unchanged, revised from a previously reported 0.1 percent drop. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 75 percent of industrial output, advanced 0.8 percent, the third gain in the last four months.
Resilient consumer demand, increased capital spending and lean inventories are spurring the pace of work on assembly lines at companies such as Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) Sustained production gains will be a source of strength for the world’s largest economy that is facing the hurdle of government budget cuts.
“Manufacturing is accelerating again,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, said before the report. O’Sullivan is the second-best forecaster of industrial production for the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “This certainly suggests good momentum ahead of the sequester, and more ability to withstand whatever drag there is from the sequester.”
Another report today showed factories in the New York region expanded for a second month in March. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index eased to 9.2, from 10 in February. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.
Estimates for February industrial production from the 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from a drop of 0.1 percent to an increase of 1 percent. Utility output rose in February, while mining decreased for a third straight month.