Moffett Field, California

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Aerial View of Moffett Field and NASA Ames Research Center.

Moffett Field, California is a United States facility in the San Francisco Bay Area, formerly a U.S. Navy base and now used mainly by NASA.

Moffett Field's "Hangar One" (built during the Depression era for the USS Macon) and the row of World War II blimp hangars are still some of the largest unsupported structures in the country. Hanger One is a Bay Area landmark.

Plans to convert it to a space and science center have been put on hold with the discovery in 2003 that the paint on the outside is leaching toxic chemicals. The hangar has been closed ever since and is now threatened with demolition, although various concerned groups are fighting to save it.


In 1931, Mountain View, California and Sunnyvale, California acquired a 1,000 acre (4 km²) parcel of land bordering San Francisco Bay, then "sold" the parcel for $1 to the US government as a home base for the Navy airship USS Macon.

The base was commissioned in 1933 and originally named NAS Sunnyvale; after the death of Rear Admiral William A. Moffett in the loss of the USS Akron on April 4, 1933, the Naval Air Station was renamed NAS Moffett Field. After the ditching of the Macon on February 12, 1935, and until 1941, Moffett Field was under the control of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

From the end of World War II until its close, NAS Moffett Field saw several generations of anti-submarine warfare aircraft, including the Lockheed P2V Neptune and P-3 Orion. Until the demise of the USSR and for some time thereafter, daily anti-submarine sorties flew out from Moffett Field to patrol along the Pacific coastline.

View of the huge dirigible hangar with doors open at both ends.
View of the huge dirigible hangar with doors open at both ends.

In 1960, the nearby Air Force Satellite Test Center was created adjacent to Moffett. It is operational today as Onizuka Air Force Station.

On July 1, 1994, Moffett Field was closed as a military base and turned over to NASA Ames Research Center. NASA Ames now operates the facility as Moffett Federal Airfield. Though not an active military installation anymore, Moffett is still not accessible to the public.

Moffett Airfield has seen very light air traffic, especially since the turn of the millennium. This might be due to its relative proximity to Travis Air Force Base. Moffett is regularly used to land Air Force One during presidential visits to the Bay Area.

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