A lot of people are scratching their heads wondering why Google just agreed to pay NASA $1.16 billion for one of the space agency's old hangars, fueling further speculation that one of the world's largest Internet search giants could be looking to land in the space exploration industry sooner than many people might have thought.
And in an email to TheBlaze earlier today, a Google spokeswoman stopped short of denying those plans, saying, "any speculation of use of the site would be really early days – the immediate priority is restoring the hangars."
The former home of America's biggest blimps is surrounded by Moffett Federal Airfield in Silicon Valley, California. While Google's intention to lease the space has been known since February, it's now considered a done deal.
Some have suggested the massive search engine company needs more room to park its executive's private jets. But that hasn't stopped the speculation that Google might have something else in mind.
But Google has had its fair share of trouble with executives and their private jets. Last year it was discovered that for years, billionaire Google executives purchased fuel for their private jets at a significantly low cost because thanks to their "arrangement," as the Wall Street Journal described it, with the Pentagon.
The problem for Google was that fuel was intended to be used "for performance of a U.S. government contract, charter or other approved use, which it wasn't. Violations of that rule could have resulted in civil or criminal penalties – but there is no indiction that ever happened.
So the solution for Google, it seemed, was to purchase the prime real-estate to continue using much of what it had been using while staying out of trouble with U.S. taxpayers, millions of whom are also Google customers.
It turns out the deal wasn't so sour for NASA either.
"As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth. We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration – not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Monday.
In addition, the space agency said the American public will benefit from the transaction since Google's Planetary Ventures is expected to spend more than $200 million on improvements to the historic property. Among those improvements are restoring Hangar One to its historic property standards as set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as well as rehabilitating Hangar Two and Hangar Three.
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