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Google Takes Over NASA’s Moffett Airfield for Robot and Space Research

Google is renting 1,000 acres of a historic California air base for space exploration, aviation and robotics projects. NASA says Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures LLC will pay $1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property. It's part of Moffett Field, a former U.S. Navy air base in the San Francisco Bay Area that's also the home of NASA's Ames Research Center. Google will manage the property, a local landmark that includes a working airfield, private golf course and a massive hangar that was built to house dirigible-style Navy airships in the 1930s. Google plans to refurbish three hangars on the property.

NASA says the deal, first announced in February and finalized Monday, will save it $6.3 million in annual maintenance and operation costs. "As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration — not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need.”

Watch Google Exec Set Record With Near-Space Skydive 1:22

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— The Associated Press and NBC News staff