NASA’s Moffett Airfield may soon be home to Google’s most futuristic projects

Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures will begin operating the Bay Area’s historic Moffett Airfield after nine months of negotiations with NASA. The two signed a 60 year lease today that will generate more than $19 million in rent for NASA each year.

“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 release. “We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration — not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need.”

Planetary Ventures, which is a limited liability company, plans to put $200 million toward improving the campus. It is also required under the lease to:

  • Refurbish the historic Hangar One
  • Rehabilitate Hangars Two and Three
  • Operate Moffett Field for public and private use
  • Create an education center for the public

Google has been eyeing Hangar One for quite some time. Its executives offered $33 million in 2011 to restore the hangar; in return, NASA would have been required to store top Google employee’s planes there.

Planetary Ventures has not yet stated specifically what it will do with the campus. A NASA release indicated Google might test some of its higher-tech projects there:

Once renovations are complete, Hangar One will again be home to high-tech innovation as Planetary Ventures begins using the historic facility for research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies. Hangars Two and Three will be used for similar purposes.