The United States government announced on Monday that it had chosen Google’s Planetary Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Google, to run and renovate Moffett Federal Airfield. Located just four miles from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s headquarters, the airfield has frequently been used by a number of the company’s billionaires.
History of the airfield
The former naval base was built in the 1930s and has been managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center for the past 23 years. Somewhat ironically, Google’s founders have had disputes with the same group in recent months. Does this mean that Google is more powerful that NASA or that the United States government is now willing to admit this fact now?
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Financial terms of the deal are still being worked out between NASA, the General Services Administration, and NASA.
The deal means that Google will be charged with the renovation of the airfield’s three hangers including the massive hanger that has become something of a Silicon Valley landmark owing to its sheer size and proximity to a busy highway. Additionally, Google will renovate the golf course next door.
“We are delighted to move ahead in the selection process and we look forward to working with both GSA and NASA to preserve the heritage of Moffett Federal Airfield,” Google said in a statement Monday.
Google’s willingness to cover the cost of the renovation as well as the operation will bring smiles to taxpayer faces given the cost of the project. The 200-foot-tall Hangar One renovation could prove to run over $40 million just to cover the skeleton of the hanger stripped of contaminated materials.
“NASA’s partnership with the private sector will allow the agency to restore this treasure for more efficient use,” said Dan Tangherlini, administrator of the General Services Administration.
The Google jet fuel scandal?
As mentioned, just over two months ago, a NASA audit found that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt received ridiculous deals on jet fuel that saved them money they would never miss given their exorbitant wealth.
“This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank,” said John Simpson, privacy project director for Consumer Watchdog.
In securing the deal, Google beat out one other interested and unnamed bidder.