Google has signed a 60-year lease for part of an air base owned by NASA. The company wants to renovate three hangars on the base, with the goal of using them to house projects for aviation, space exploration, and robotics.
According to a press release published by NASA, a subsidiary operated by Google for real estate purposes, called Planetary Ventures LLC, will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property. Apart from the massive hangers, the 1,000-acre site also includes an air field and golf course. The base was once known as the Moffett Field Naval Air Station.
NASA said Google wanted the property - located a few miles from Mountain View - for "research, development, assembly and testing" in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rovers, robotics, and emerging technologies. Google will pump about $200 million into revamping the three hangars and creating an educational facility for the public to explore the site’s legacy.
It's no secret that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's co-founders, have an interest in far-out technology, so this NASA deal shouldn't be too shocking. Google has a secret lab after all, called Google X, with a team of scientists and engineers who are working on self-driving cars, internet balloons, drone delivery, Google Glass, and space-age contact lenses, among other things.
NASA said it will continue to uses the on-site Ames Research Center, while Google will assume responsibilities of the runways and hangars and other buildings, saving the agency about $6.3 million in annual maintenance and operation costs.
It's worth noting several reports claimed both Page and Brin have often used the base's runways in the past for their private jets.