Google-backed Company Taking Over Moffett Airfield

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Planetary Ventures, a Google-backed company, will take over management of Moffett Federal Airfield from NASA’s Ames Research Center, relieving the space agency of the cost of maintaining the facility in Silicon Valley, Calif., and obliging the company to restore the historic Hangar One located on the property, NASA announced Feb. 10. 

NASA and the General Services Administration (GSA), which disposes of property the federal government does not need anymore, made the announcement in a joint press release. While final terms of the lease to Planetary Ventures have not been negotiated, NASA and GSA said the company must:

  • Reskin and protect Hangar One.
     
  • Rehabilitate the airfield’s other two aircraft hangars. 
     
  • Upgrade the golf course on the property. 
     
  • Create a public use and educational facility. 

NASA has formally been seeking a caretaker for Moffett Field since May 2013, when it released a request for proposals from bidders interested in leasing the facility. While Google does not yet have an official presence at Moffett Field, a Palo Alto, Calif., company called H211 — which counts top Google executives among its owners — has operated a fleet of aircraft from the airfield since at least 2007. H211 pays NASA for that privilege under a Space Act Agreement set to expire July 31, according to a copy of the agreement posted online. Also under that deal, H211 aircraft fly NASA-provided atmospheric sensors, data from which are collected by the agency.