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Break out the scatter cushions: Google rents out NASA blimp hangar

Historic Navy blimp home to get Choc Factory makeover

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Google is set to rent out NASA's historic Hangar One as well as two runways at an airfield near its Mountain View headquarters.

The space agency announced a deal that would see Planetary Ventures LLC, a Google subsidiary, "rehabilitate" the historic hangar and manage Moffett Federal Airfield. We hope that doesn't mean too many circular couches, colourful cushions and lap-dancing booths, but this is Google we're talking about...

Built way back in 1932, Hangar One is among the world's largest free-standing structures and was once used to house Navy blimps. The decommissioned Silicon Valley landmark was aerodynamically designed so that blimps could float in and out.

The news is likely to set conspiracy theorists' spider sense a-tingling, particularly after Google parked a mysterious barge off the coast of San Francisco.

According to NASA, the Google link-up is nothing to do with shadowy Illuminati plots, but saving a few public dollars.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said: "At NASA we're not only committed to exploring our solar system, but also making sure we're spending tax dollars wisely. That's why we've been so aggressive at making surplus or under-utilized property available to the private sector or other government partners.

"The agreement announced today will benefit the American taxpayer and the community around Moffett. It will allow NASA to focus its resources on core missions, while protecting the federal need to use Moffett Field as a continued, limited-use airfield."

Nearby Mineta San José International Airport previously inked a deal to allow Google head honchos to park their private jets at the airfield. Currently, the chief oompah-loompahs have their flying limousines parked at Moffet and it is not yet known whether they will move them to Mineta.

NASA and other government agencies will still be able to use Moffet from time to time, which was a condition of the Google deal. ®

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