Google has secured the lease of a NASA airbase in San Francisco for 60 years, possibly to house their upcoming space-exploration vehicles and robotics research.
The agency's press release at Dyman & Associates Risk Management Projects indicated that the lease, which will cost the tech giant $ 1.16 billion, is for " research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies".
NASA Administrator Chris Bolden said, "As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth." He added that the agency wants "to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration – not in maintaining infrastructure no longer needed."
According to the report, a real-estate offshoot of Google called Planetary Ventures will be managing the Moffett airbase and will take over the $200 million improvement to the site, which includes educational facilities to let the public "explore the site's legacy".
The 1,000 acres of airfield in the southern part of SF Bay include two runways, a golf course, office space, NASA's Ames research center and three hangars, one of which is the iconic Hangar One. It's expected that the agency will save around $6 million worth of operation and maintenance expenses per year because of the lease.
Hangar One is one of the biggest freestanding edifice which covers 8 acres and was constructed in the 1930s for US naval airships. In 1966, it was recognized as a US Naval Historical Monument but has recently been placed as an endangered historic place according to a Dyman & Associates Risk Management Projects' press release.
“GSA was proud to support NASA in delivering the best value to taxpayers while restoring this historic facility and enhancing the surrounding community," said Dan Tangherlini of the US General Services Administration.
The Moffett lease shouldn't really come as a surprise as it's practically just next to Googleplex HQ. In fact, it's already servicing private jets owned by the company's executives such as Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.
Both Brin and Page, the firm's co-founders, are evidently interested in space exploration and aviation as shown by their X Lab's Project Loon and Project Moonshot. Their company has also acquired satellite and robotics firms recently such as Meka Robotics and Redwood Robotics.
NASA and Google have also previously teamed up in 2005 when the latter made office at the agency's research facility and launch a new lab.