Today, NASA finalized a deal with Google where the Internet giant will take over the operations of its Moffett Airfield located to the South of San Francisco Bay for a period of 60 years. Google agreed to pay $1.16 billion as the part of the lease agreement over the course of the next 60 years in return for its use. Further, the company would spend additional $200 million restoring and maintaining the existing Hangars, especially the 80 year old Hangar One.
As mentioned above, this is just a lease agreement where the company will take over the operations of the airfield while the US Government will retain its ownership.
The deal was finalized by Google’s real estate arm, Planetary Ventures which won the right to negotiate for the airfield back in spring. The internet giant had a particular interest in this airfield as it was already using it for its private jets and it could use the 1,000 acres of land for its extensive research and development operations.
The company is known to work on a number of research projects at a time, many of which are top secret and hence, Moffett Airfield could be the ideal place to carry out these research operations. In fact, the press release states that once the restoration of the Hangar One is completed, the company would use it along with the other two hangars for assembly, research, development and testing in areas of space exploration, robotics, aviation, and other similar technologies.
Along with the three hangars which are sequentially named, Hangar One, Two and Three, there are two runways, an operations building and a private golf course on the airfield.
Both the parties were keen on finalizing the deal as Google had a particular interest in this airfield since the past few years and NASA wanted someone to take away the operations of the field so that it could invest the tax payer’s money in something more resourceful.
“As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. ”We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need. Moffett Field plays an important role in the Bay Area and is poised to continue to do so through this lease arrangement.”
Google will take over its operations once it finalizes a joint plan with NASA, California Regional Water Quality Control Board and federal Environmental Protection Agency.
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