Monday, November 10, 2014

NASA Signs 60-Year, $1.16 Billion Lease with Google

In a rather refreshing change of pace, we have a story tonight about a federal government agency making a useful (not to mention profitable) use of government assets and resources..

Now before you all bust a gut laughing about this notion, lets get to the facts.

Google has apparently signed a long-term lease agreement with NASA to access the Moffett Field Naval Station near San Francisco, California.

The Moffett Field Naval Station is a place of interesting history and is well known for its three large hangars, which were originally built for U.S. Navy airships. These large hangars have even made an appearance on the popular television series MythBusters.

So what is so interesting about this lease agreement between NASA and Google?

Google isn't just getting a wider use of this facility, they are actually to fix it up a bit!

They are currently planning on investing some $200 million to refurbish the hangars and add educational facilities.

In other words, NASA is leasing one of its older and less modern facilities to a private company for a handsome price and getting the facilities improved WITHOUT having to use their own funds. This is a perfect example of a federal government agency using some of its assets in a smart and economic fashion, a rarity it seems these days.

So now you maybe asking yourself something along the lines of, "well that's a rather deal, but what does Google get out of it?"

A good question no doubt, but not one that is easy to answer. The closest I am aware of Google being involved in the aerospace field is the Google Lunar X Prize. This is a competition of sorts to inspire private companies and technology entrepreneurs to develop cheaper and more efficient technologies for travel to the Moon and possibly even exploring the surface.

So does Google want to build Moffett into the perfect launch site for some of these ventures or perhaps even develop such technology itself?

That, it seems is the $1.16 billion question.

Wall Street Journal- Google Signs 60-Year, $1.16 Billion NASA Lease

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