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The Green Rebirth Of An Old Naval Air Station

In 1933, the U.S. Government commissioned Sunnyvale Naval Air Station, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay.

The original mission of the Naval Air Station was to serve as a home base for the Navy dirigible the U.S.S. Macon.

That same year Rear Admiral William A. Moffett lost his life when the airship USS Akron went down in a storm off the East Coast, the new air base was renamed NAS Moffett Field. Remaining a constantly bustling air base for 61 years until ordered closed.

On July 1, 1994, NAS Moffett Field was closed as a Naval Air Station and in something of a government real-estate twist of fate, was turned over to the NASA Ames Research Center. Repurposed as the NASA Research Park (NPR), Ames now provides stewardship for the entire 800-hectare (2,000 acre) site and operates facilities including a portion of the interior of the massive iconic airship Hangar One, with a floor that covers eight acres (1,133 feet (343 m) long, 308 feet (93 m) wide, and 198 feet (60 m) high), an elongated dome tall enough to have incidents of fog forming near the ceiling. NPR also includes an 80 by 120 ft (23 by 36.5m) wind tunnel which holds the distinction of being the largest wind tunnel test section in the world and the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex (NFAC).

The Ames Research Center has created a unique community of scientists, engineers, students, and educators. A world-class shared use R&D and education campus with a host of cutting-edge technological developments taking place. NASA Ames has forged numerous partnerships with private industry, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations that have contributed to breakthroughs in climate change research, disaster response capacity, commercialization of space, robotics, supercomputing, nanotechnology, small satellites, and green/clean technology.

Ames is the home of NASA’s large research and development divisions in Advanced Supercomputing, Human Factors, and Intelligent Systems or Artificial Intelligence. These Research & Development organizations support NASA’s exploration efforts, as well as the continued operations of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The upcoming Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission has been assigned to NASA Ames, with plans for a launch to the Moon in 2011. In addition, Ames has been a major factor in a number of missions, most notably the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions, in which the Ames Intelligent Robotics Laboratory played a key role.

Currently host to more than 70 on-site industry, 14 universities, a future Google campus, and non-profit partners, NRP will ultimately comprise 5.7 million square feet of new construction for research and development offices, university classrooms and laboratories, rental housing, museums, and a conference and education center.

At the NRP, NASA Ames actively supports the rapidly evolving and expanding Green/Clean technology sectors with a diverse portfolio of partnerships with both large and emerging enterprises focused on:

Global monitoring and prediction
Clean energy
Sustainable systems
Green aviation

These green partnerships advance both the NASA mission and generate new technologies and products for worldwide use. Examples include using sensor network technology to generate environmental data and monitor water distribution systems, developing microsperes to transform paint and roofing materials into energy-saving sources of insulation, designing greener aircraft, and formulating environmentally friendly anti-icing fluid to keep hazardous ice from building up on airplane wings. Through these innovative projects, NASA Ames plays a key role creating jobs in the private sector.

Some of the green companies and start-ups partnering with and/or located at Ames were the featured subjects in previous Forced Green posts:

One resulting spin-off product, insulating paint additive , is already on the market. And Tesla tests its futuristic electric vehicles on the tarmac

An economic benefits study predicted that nationally, the NASA Research Park will contribute $5.8 billion in new annual economic activity, 33,800 new permanent jobs, and opening avenues for scores of new green jobs. It’s good for our planet and good for us …

….. as the green future unfolds.

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2 Responses to “The Green Rebirth Of An Old Naval Air Station”

  1. Lissof Says:

    Thanks Linda,

    That “insulating paint additive” tweeked my extreamly curious mind…. Being as how I am painting inside a friend’s house this winter I shall check into this.

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Lissof …. you will like it as it really does what it says it can do!

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