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February 13, 2014

Google Moves to Restore NASA's Hangar One

On Monday, February 10th, NASA made the announcement that Google's Planetary Ventures LLC will be taking over the lease for the Silicon Valley Landmark Hangar One. Hangar One, originally built in 1933 in order to house gigantic blimps and dirigibles, is easily recognizable off of Silicon Valley's Highway 101 and located on the Moffett Federal Airfield. Several private jets owned by Google executives are already parked on the runway.

The agreement is still under negotiation, but it appears that NASA is looking to generate some much-needed money off of a property that has not been utilized in almost two decades. In exchange, Google will have a home for the rest of their fleet of private jets, and a place to conduct Research and Development for their space agency research center. Reportedly, the deal will also include two more hangars on the airfield that Google will be renovating, along with a brand new educational facility and an upgraded golf course.

In an emailed statement, Google claimed that they are looking forward to working with both NASA and the Google Space Agency (GSA). This sale also seems to portend a closer relationship GSA and Google, since the GSA research center is located only three miles away. Google has already had close ties with NASA, and both companies are working together to test the world's first quantum computer.

Ultimately, this leasing will fund some of NASA's core missions, while preserving the Moffet airfield in a usable condition for when it is needed. The airfield had proved to be a drain on NASA's funds since it was rarely used, and the discovery of toxic chemicals in parts of the hangar has had those sections closed to human visitation since 1997.

It is unclear what Google could be planning within the hangars, but theories range from aerospace engineering to robotics development, considering past acquisitions of companies like Boston Dynamics. Google obviously has something big planned for the future, and clues like these hint at that future. And as Andy Rubin, the head of Google's robotics research initiative puts it, “The future is looking awesome!”

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