Moffett Federal Airfield, located near the heart of Silicon Valley, could soon be managed by a subsidiary of Google.
NASA and the US General Services Administration have chosen Planetary Ventures, a Google subsidiary, as the "preferred lessee" to manage the airfield and rehab the historic hangars on the site. NASA said leasing the airfield will both reduce costs and generate revenue.
Google's jet fleet is already housed at Moffett airfield, which is about three miles from the Web giant's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, but the airfield has a history that dates back to long before the tech bubble. Click through this gallery for a look at Silicon Valley's historic airfield.
Hangar One, seen above with its building skin removed, was built to support the US Navy's "lighter-than-air" reconnaissance program following World War I, according to the NASA Ames Historic Preservation Office. Construction began in October 1931 and was completed on July 1, 1933.
The US Navy purchased the initial 1,000 acres for Naval Air Station Sunnyvale, renamed NAS Moffett Field in 1935, in August 1931. The massive Hangar One was designed to be used by the USS Macon, a 6,500,000 cubic-foot dirigible, and associated Sparrowhawk aircraft, according to the NASA Ames Historic Preservation Office.
The USS Macon, seen above leaving Hangar One in October 1933 to prep for its first flight since arriving from the East Coast, was powered by eight engines providing 4,500 horsepower and had a top speed of 85 miles per hour.
The USS Macon, seen above docked in Hangar One along with a small blimp, crashed off the coast of California due to a storm during a training mission in 1935. The Macon's accident along with the crash of its sister ship, the USS Akron, effectively ended the Navy's "lighter-than-air" program, according to the NASA Ames Historic Preservation Office.
Hangar One, seen above with its building skin partially removed, and the approximately 1,100-acre airfield was transferred by the Navy to NASA in 1994, according to the NASA Ames Historic Preservation Office, to be integrated with the adjacent Ames Research Center.
The original metal panel siding on the exterior of Hangar One was removed by the Navy after toxins detected in the adjacent NASA Ames Research Center's storm drain system were linked to the deteriorating hangar siding.