NASA Signs Lease with Google Subsidiary for Moffett Field

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WASHINGTON — NASA has signed an agreement to lease Moffett Federal Airfield, run by the agency’s Ames Research Center, to a company owned by Internet giant Google.

The 60-year lease agreement between NASA and Planetary Ventures LLC gives the company control of the 400-hectare airfield, including three hangars, two runways, a flight operations building and a golf course. The lease will provide NASA with $1.16 billion in rent payments over the lifetime of the lease, and save the agency $6.3 million per year in facility maintenance costs.

As part of the lease, Planetary Ventures will also invest more than $200 million in improvements to the airfield, including the refurbishment of Hangar One. The facility, on the National Register of Historic Places, had its exterior panels removed in 2012 as part of an environmental remediation project.

The agreement is part of an effort by NASA to transfer excess property and lower its overhead costs. 

“As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a Nov. 10 statement announcing the lease. “Moffett Field plays an important role in the Bay Area and is poised to continue to do so through this lease arrangement.”

NASA and the U.S. General Services Administration selected Planetary Ventures in February to begin negotiations on a lease. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, headquartered in Mountain View, California, near the airfield.

Google, through Planetary Ventures, plans to use Moffett Field to support research and development activities in space exploration, aviation, robotics, and other technologies, according to the Nov. 10 statement.