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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, October 23, 2017

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Google leases NASA airbase for $1.1 bn over 60 years

Projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics

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NEW YORK - Google has signed a lease with NASA for the historic naval airbase on the San Francisco Peninsula where the Internet giant will renovate three massive hangars to be used for projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics.

In a statement, NASA said that Google will pay $1.16 billion in rent over the next 60 years for the property that includes approximately 1,000 acres of land located on South San Francisco Bay.

The land houses three hangars, an airfield flight operations building, two runways and a private golf course.

The space agency said the deal was signed as part of its efforts "to reduce costs and shed surplus property"

"As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need. Moffett Field plays an important role in the Bay Area and is poised to continue to do so through this lease arrangement."

The agency estimated the lease will save the agency approximately $6.3 million annually in maintenance and operation costs of the property.

Google's subsidiary Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200 million in capital improvements to the property.

The company will refurbish historic Hangar One in accordance with standards established for historic properties by the US Secretary of the Interior.

It will also rehabilitate historic Hangars Two and Three. The company will also create an educational facility where the public can explore the site's legacy and the role of technology in the history of Silicon Valley.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have a well-known interest in aviation and space. Google already has a separate lease for another portion of the former air base, where it wants to build a second campus.

The vice president of real estate and workplace services at Google, David Radcliffe, said in a statement the company was looking "forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States."

Hangar one was built in 1931 to house naval airships and was closed in 2003 after tests revealed toxic chemicals were leaching from its roof.

The hangar's chemical-laden skin has since been removed.

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