Google to lease former Nasa airfield for space research

TBT Tech Desk:

nasa

Google latest “moonshot” is an apt one – it is investing in a Nasa-owned airfield to expand research into space exploration and robotics.

Planetary Ventures, an offshoot of Google, will take over management of the Moffett Federal Airfield, reports BBC.

The airfield is already regularly used as a landing strip for the private jets of the firm’s billionaire executives.

Google has not divulged exactly how the site will be used.

But, according to a Nasa press release, the site will be used for “research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies”.

For Nasa, the sale offers rich pickings – the agreement will provide it with $1.16bn (£731m) in rent over the initial 60-year lease term.

“As Nasa expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” said Nasa administrator Charles Bolden.

And for Google, the investment represents an opportunity to restore an iconic building.

Part of the deal includes the restoration of Hangar One, an important landmark in Silicon Valley. Built in 1933, it is one of the world’s largest free-standing structures.

Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200m in rebuilding Hangar One and two other hangars on the site.

It will create an educational facility where the public can explore the site’s legacy and the role of technology on it.


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