Google may rent out massive NASA hangar for private jet fleet

It probably won't surprise you that Google has a fleet of eight private jets. And as anyone with a fleet of eight private jets knows, finding a good place to stash them is never easy. Google has its eye on borrowing an old hangar at NASA's Ames Research Center, and not just any old hangar. It's the big one.

Hangar One at Moffet Field is one of the largest freestanding structures in the world. Built in the 1930s, it encloses approximately eight acres of floor space without any interior supports. Originally intended to house the U.S.S. Macon, hangar one could easily accommodate the giant zeppelin and a bunch of other, slightly smaller airships at the same time.

macon_hangar.jpg

Since the Navy is no longer in the habit of using airships (sad), Hangar One has been neglected for decades. It's in desperate need of restoration since the external paneling is laden with toxic chemicals, but NASA can't afford to complete the process, and there's been talk of just tearing the building down. Now, Google has stepped forward and offered to cover the entire restoration cost (about $33 million) if they can then use up to two thirds of the floor space for jet parking.

Some people don't like the idea of Google jumping in and essentially taking over most of an historic landmark, but without funding (which NASA can't get on its own) the alternatives are that either the building sits out there naked and unused, or that it gets ripped out completely, and nobody wants that. And besides, we need to keep buildings like this around for when we start doing cool stuff with blimps again.

Mercury News, via Slashdot

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