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Google executives offer to save Hangar One at Moffett Field

December 12, 2011 | 12:39 pm

Hangarone

Google's top three executives have reportedly offered to save Hangar One, a historic landmark at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley that for years has sat neglected.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt -- the CEO, co-founder and executive chairman of Google, respectively -- have proposed paying the full $33 million cost of revamping the iconic hangar through a company they control, according to the San Jose Mercury News. But there's apparently a catch: They want to use up to two-thirds of the floor space of the hangar to house their fleet of eight private jets.

Moffett Field is in Mountain View, Calif., where Google is based. NASA Ames, which owns the site including Hangar One, is said to be considering the offer made in September by the Google trio's company, H211. 

An icon from the infancy of the Space Age that looms large in aviation history, Hangar One spans 361,000 square feet -- as big as seven football fields -- and is wide enough to fit three Titanics side by side. Built in 1933, the cavernous structure once housed the Macon, a lumbering dirigible that roamed the California coast on U.S. military missions before crashing into the Pacific Ocean in 1935.

But the humpbacked Silicon Valley structure sits on a toxic site and is currently undergoing a major process to strip the hangar of its PCB-laden paneling. The 198-foot-tall building has faced numerous challenges, especially in the last year, when the House of Representatives cut $32 million from NASA's budget that was set aside to replace Hangar One's siding, the Mercury News report said. 

A NASA spokesman told the newspaper that the H211 proposal had "not yet been completely vetted" and "we have to weigh that against the reality of constrained resources and use." Under the plan, NASA would remain Hangar One's owner and would be able to lease out floor space not used by H211 as well as the upper levels of the structure.

"We are giving all options thoughtful consideration as we prepare our funding proposal for the fiscal year 2013 budget," NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said.

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-- Andrea Chang

Photo: Hangar One at Moffett Field. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times

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