Google Going To Space! Signs 60 year, $1.16 Billion Deal To Rent Airbase

From this ABC News' article

Google has signed a long-term lease for part of a historic Navy air base, where it plans to renovate three massive hangars and use them for projects involving aviation, space exploration and robotics.

Google's Planetary Ventures LLC signs 60 year, $1+ Billion Deal for part of Moffett Field in San Francisco, CA.

The giant Internet company will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property, which also includes a working air field, golf course and other buildings. The 1,000-acre site is part of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Google plans to invest more than $200 million to refurbish the hangars and add other improvements, including a museum or educational facility that will showcase the history of Moffett and Silicon Valley, according to a NASA statement. The agency said a Google subsidiary called Planetary Ventures LLC will use the hangars for "research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies."

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have a well-known interest in aviation and space. The company has recently acquired several smaller firms that are working on satellite technology and robotics. But a Google spokesperson declined Monday to discuss specific plans for the property, which is located just a few miles from the company's main campus in Mountain View.

NASA plans to continue operating its Ames Research Center on the former Navy site. Google will take over operations at the runways and hangars, including a massive structure that was built to house dirigible-style Navy airships in the 1930s. NASA said the deal will save it $6.3 million in annual maintenance and operation costs.

Local officials praised Google's promise to restore the historic structure known as Hangar One, which is a San Francisco Bay Area landmark. U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, called the lease agreement "a major win for our region."

Google already has a separate lease for another portion of the former air base, where it wants to build a second campus. Page and Brin have also used the Moffett runways for their collection of private jets, under another lease arrangement that's been criticized by some watchdog groups who say NASA gave the executives a sweetheart deal.

What does this mean?

It means that Google, like Elon Musk's SpaceX, is looking at private space travel as a very serious, logical next step. Is that stating the obvious? Probably. The reality is that if any company should get into private space ventures, it's Google. They have the braintrust and the funding to make something great.

Yes, yes, yes. I am a Google fan and it's true that I would lean more towards Google in most situations if pressed for an opinion. There is a reason for that. The reason is that Google has, so far and in most circumstances, made bold proposals and has had tremendous follow through. Everything they do is open sourced and open minded (There are obviously going to be exceptions to the rule predominantly in the "Moon Shot" and prototype/in-development items) and honest. This has been my experience with them. I used them before they were Google and am on some special lists since I have been for such a long time. They definitely take care of their customers and are always there when I need to talk to someone.

Google has gotten into private space flight, robotics, aviation and medical fields in recent months and years. For this Air Base, they plan to use it for "research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies." I think that it's exciting and am looking forward to following all of Google's foray into new markets and technologies. I wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.

What do you think?