NASA still plans to house airships in Hangar One

A NASA Ames official said on Tuesday that the agency still hopes to use Moffett Field's historic Hangar One to house airships, standing by a proposal made a year ago.

"You may soon see airships flying around the area like we did in the 1930s," said Lew Braxton, Ames deputy center director.

Braxton clarified his agency's position after Congresswoman Anna Eshoo made a strong statement last week that a plan must be in place to reuse Hangar One if Congress is to approve funding to restore the massive structure.

The Navy is set to remove Hangar One's siding in November as part of a toxics cleanup, and NASA has struggled to find a way to pay for the restoration of the historic landmark.

"Hangar One is the Statue of Liberty of the West Coast," Braxton said.

Under President Obama's new budget for NASA, there will be an $80 million increase every year for five years for NASA to conduct aeronautical research. Whether some of that money could go towards saving Hangar One is uncertain, but Braxton said "We would like (Hangar One) to be a part of our aeronautical program," later adding that "We will have to see who has the deep pockets to address that."

Braxton also noted that "there are companies that are interested" in using Hangar One for the development of lighter-than-air aircraft for the U.S. Department of Defense, which Lockheed Martin is already doing.

Since its inception in 1939, NASA Ames has been working with defense contractors on the development of aircraft technology.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A. Jones
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Regarding Mr. Braxton's comment:
"Hangar One is the Statue of Liberty of the West Coast," Braxton said.

I am a little unclear how Mr. Braxton came to the conclusion that the Hanger compares more favorably than say the Golden Gate Bridge or the Oakland Bay Bridge. Such unfounded comparisons make all other points he made suspect.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by D. Morton
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hanger One is a part of South Bay history that should be preserved at all costs. My father remembers back in the days of the Macon and Akron how traffic on the two lane 101 would come to a standstill when one of the dirigibles would come home. The original skin should just be recoated periodically as needed to contain the PCB's and could be paid for by a public preservation fund. This would be the most cost effective and esthetic way to keep such an important part of Sunnyvale history and could continue to be used as needed. Anyone who thinks differently should pursue an opportunity to walk into the hanger. Once you do,an experience beyond belief will ingulf your senses and you will immediately realize what I am saying.

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