back to article NASA: Google Gulfstreams not science experiments

Google's top execs have purchased a fighter jet and parked it at NASA's Moffett airfield because - contrary to their original agreement with NASA - the execs' fleet of passenger jets is unsuited to running the space agency's earth science experiments. At least, that's the word from NASA. As we reported earlier today, H211 - …


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  1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Hi Fliers

    I think they should be put in charge of the world economy.

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Opportunity Knocks. Google AIR&dDevelopers

    I just love NASA'a Plan for the Civil Executive AIR*Jet Fleet. IT shows a Future Vision which can Lead but now Driverless with Google Big Cheeses Chasing the Dragon of Power rather than the Reality of Control. A Natural Stumble in Exuberant Youth.

    It does not say much though for their Executive Mentoring.

    Old Shorts 42 Go Long in will Bombard the Entire Fleet with XXXXotic NIRobotIQs which is not the sort of Offer NASA gets every day. And probably also more something for a DARPA/IARPA to be Splashing with Flash Cash/Funding Stealthily too.

  3. Wayland Sothcott

    You can hang things on the wings

    Look, you can hang six things on the wings of this plane. Each one could be an experiment. It's also got two seats so you can have a pilot from NASA and one of the Wonkas can ride in the other seat. It looks like fun.

  4. SkippyBing

    It's not a fighter jet

    it's a very naughty boy, I mean a jet trainer, I'm not even sure it can get as high as the Gulfstreams being powered by two hair-dryers as it is.

    Why do NASA let Google park private jets at their airfield? I'm guessing it's because they're really nice people who look after their grans...

  5. BillPhollins
    Black Helicopters

    The GAF and the Battle of Backbone

    Not content with reading our emails and photographing our houses, now they're developing their own air force to control our air space. They could launch modified Navy Dorniers off their aircraft carriers, I mean "floating data centres".

  6. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    THESE are the pompous ass liberals that infest Silcon Valley

    Here is a another taste as the liberal pompous asses that run Google, Yahoo, Apple, ad infinitum in the home of Nuts Fruits and Flakes - the Frisco Bay Area.

  7. Steve Dulieu


    Of course, this might have helped with my previous comment...

  8. Henri Willox

    Alpha Jet, not a fighter, but....

    I agree with SkippyBing, the Alpha Jet was primary a trainer (used in France, Begium,..) but some countries use it as light Bomber (Germany, Egypt, Cameroon, Portugal,...)

    Le Technoblog du LAC -

  9. Anonymous Coward

    So you are suprised NASA & Google lie?

    NASA has been caught lying about lots of things over the years. Steve Zornetzer is just keeping up that tradition. Google has been pretty two faced about all sorts of things as well. Party jets for execs creating tons of greenhouse gases while claiming to be a green "Don't be Evil" company? Google just follows the Silicon Valley tradition, pioneered by Apple, of saying one thing for the minions to lap up, while actually doing another.

  10. Scott Lamb
    Thumb Down

    We got the joke

    Bloody hell, how many times can you repeat "Willy Wonkas"?

    We get it, you hold Google in snide disdain. You could at least invent a few more jibes.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    THE reason ...

    ... they were parked there was because of a back hander.

  12. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Err, why exactly

    does NASA need PRIVATE aircraft -civilian, military or otherwise? Aren't they part of the US Federal Government? The same government that has bought thousands and thousands of planes for the Navy, AF, and Corps? And raped my wallet of thousands of notes to pay for it? But here's NASA saying they want to use private aircraft to gather data. Makes no sense to me. Why not just ask the AF if they have any old trainers laying about that they don't need.

  13. michael


    it's cos I just watched T3 but dose the fact that a company with healy links to internet computing owning militry hardware a bit worriing

  14. michael

    head for the hills

    ""interrogate the atmospheric chemistry in real-time" in an effort to determine the effects of climate changes on greenhouse gase"

    climit change is happening so fast we can monitor the changes in real time of a jet flight!!!!!!!!


  15. davcefai

    Competition Control

    Think about it. If competition in searching hots up Google can litterally flatten the opposition.

  16. John Doe
    Thumb Down

    Nice to have privilege...

    ...and access that the average person doesn't have, eh?

    Hopefully, the next U.S. President makes a discreet enquiry and suggest to NASA that GOOG founders' jets might be better parked on a non-government owned property.

    Heck, these rich chaps could even buy up some land, get it zoned appropriately, put on a private runway, put up some large hangars, get FAA approval and certification, then move their jets there! It's not like they're hurting for money, eh? Money's the only lubrication that works better than oil. :-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "direct connection to our mission."

    Like a bag of money for example. Science? How about a study of the effects of booze and high altitude on NASA volunteers aboard the party jet.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What love is this...

    ...of a plutocrat for his country that he would sacrifice exclusive use of his hundredth begotten rich boy's toy in the name of dubious science?

    How many billionaires have impotently dribbled their philanthropy against the relentless tide of chronic disease and world hunger without even private access to a historically significant airfield to show for their efforts?

    In a world in economic crisis, can a government agency really afford NOT to selectively benefit the ridiculously wealthy in return for some token assistance in the disgracefully ignored field of climate research?

    Perhaps if Warren Buffet had taken the government's offer of free parking for his fleet of historic sportscars on the lawns and avenues of Washington's national monuments in return for temporarily attaching a trip meter to his nephew's Bugati Veyron, we would already have the vital telemetry data we need to end this crazy dependence on fossil fuels once and for all! Selfish bastard.

    So this one thing I tell you. This is the greatest love and those whose souls are too petty to see it for what it is are the real reason this world is in such a shameful state. Your crazed view of charity may help "the needy" and "the homeless" and "the chronically ill", and in your madness you may think your taxes somehow buy you a stake in the works of your government, but stop for a moment and ask yourself this question:

    Have you committed a self-serving act that tangentially and incidentally benefited a publicly funded agency sufficiently to hide your self interest behind a gossamer veil of philanthropy today?

    I thought not.

    You sicken me.

  19. George

    Wow AC what a rant!

    But it means nothing unless you put you name to it.

    Or do you just go around pasting this sort of stuff in the vain hope that someone wants to agree with you?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Well, they do blur the melting ice on google earth earth

    When I checked it out to see some features of the antarctic, while researching some historical info about old military bases, I noticed most of the coastline was blurred with what looked like a photoshop smudge tool (as in - obviously blurred on purpose, since I had seen screen shots form other sites with it in very high detail). Everything is heating up pretty fast and there is a lot of weird things "being done" about it. Mostly it all being barely mentioned in our (US) media, I only see the climate updates on the BBC, esp. with the "elections, etc.". NASA, working along with all international science agencies we usually work with, have been investing a LOT in weather science, including/especially solar system weather. With all the "distraction" in the world, i almost have a feeling they're preparing for something pretty bad (lots of water introduced into a warming world with a galactic plane shift coming = even the power players are crapping their pants). I mean, Bush and Putin were great buddies less than a year ago and now we're having "diplomatic problems"? A global banking system is being forged as we speak and will probably create it's own defense force, or absorb and strengthen the UN defense forces. Though it will probably be akin to a world wide FBI/KGB, since they will be needed to enforce domestic compliance (any kind of unified world gov would need such an apparatus anyway, just a difference in most people's preference for multiple, locally operated, and separate orgs, working together when they need to, and transparent to the public vs. one big unified secretive one controlled by very few. One form will be necessary regardless, and already exists with current treaties, although compliance with the treaties are often an issue). If there is any pessimism about the future, it is that the power players might be jerks to the rest of us, like rats out of an aqueduct... survival of the quickest, the related, and the lucky.


    If the ice melts, think of Water World (sorry, I know it's not the best movie), except with 50m tides (hot water is less dense and with more of it the moon and sun will have much greater effect on the tides), crazy waves, lots of clouds, and not a lot of dry land (relatively speaking anyway, there's a lot of uninhabited dry land people could move in towards that won't be so high in elevation while the heating phase is going on, assuming they aren't lowered by the earthquakes. But earthquakes can allow more water into the ground, which in fact can help support the upper ground structures. There is a lot going on under the ground, ALL the time). I think Noah had the right idea. Positive side? fresh water won't be an issue since it will be raining fairly consistently, no need to till with all the earthquakes keeping soil nice and soft (gotta keep laughing ;-P). The extra water should keep the carbon pools at the bottom of the ocean where they are, even with a lot of volcanic activity in those locations. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if the earth momentarily went through a gas planet/comet phase with all the craziness going on in the atmosphere, along with a lot of aurora lights.

    AND/OR the atmosphere might actually absorb a lot of the excess water and energy by expanding, with less of a negative impact on the rest of the natural order, but galactic plane shifting isn't an exact science, so where Gov and Military are concerned, they are going to prepare for the worst. And if everyone knew something big was going to happen, imagine how many would go on killing/rape rampages since they would feel there is nothing to lose (too many selfish idiots). Think about all the meth/crack/coke addicts that wouldn't have access once shipping stops, and don't have friends or family to help then through the withdrawal and hopelessness. Most of the news about individuals/groups who go on rampages feel they have nothing to lose. A fair number of countries' rulers have acted the same way, ending in the deaths and humiliation of millions. And depending on how far back you want to go, a whole lot more have been killed by paranoia/erring on the side of caution.

    I think I went a little too off topic :-P

    It's brown trousers time, has been for longer than we think, it's definitely time to go to red alert, even if it means switching the bulbs from blue to red!

    But I still have my fingers crossed, I hope HAARP is a protective system, magnetosphere will need all the help it can get... maybe ;-P

    But what the hell do I know!? I mean it's not like the whole solar system is heating up now, is it?

  21. Ishkandar

    Dornier ??

    A mere toy, I say !! Larry Ellison bought a *real* Russian fighter bomber but the US authorities refused him permission to take it back to the States because he was overheard to remark that he might use it on Redmond. So, now it may be parked near Reading (England, for the Yanks - Oracle's UK HQ) !!

  22. Pete "oranges" B.

    O Rly?

    "...the FAA does not regulate experimental planes in the same way they regulate passenger jets..."

    Do they now? Hmm... There's this one spot in my backyard that would look real nifty with a steam catapult + high-angle launch rail on it...

    All for launching flying things of a highly scientificle nature of course. Of course.

  23. Michael Prior-Jones

    Regulation, regulation, regulation

    Fitting scientific instrumentation to aircraft is a Whole World of Pain, especially in the UK and USA, where the regulatory authorities are extremely stringent about any non-standard aircraft. Colleagues of mine have been involved in this for many years, and they reckon it can take at least two years to jump through all the hoops required for an instrument to be fitted, especially if it involves modifications to the exterior of the aircraft.

    By contrast, in Canada, where attitudes to aviation are much more relaxed, the certification can be done in less than a year.

  24. Martin Gregorie

    @ Michael Prior-Jones

    Modifying aircraft and/or flying uncertified types is relatively easy in America - just register it in the Experimental category. This is how its done for warbirds, Reno Racers, home builts and many types of sailplane. Its cheaper and less restrictive than getting regular FAA type approval.

    Meanwhile with EASA gearing up on this side of the pond its getting harder to fly anything that's even slightly nonstandard. You can't even change the instrument panel easily: I made damn sure my glider had all the stuff I had planned to install in its panel before it got taken onto the EASA books.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps AC is at the centre of it all - pulling the strings or at least keeping the swings and roundabouts (and palms) well greased...

    Perhaps, by donning the armor of anonymity, AC is protecting us all from a frightening reality that we are ill-equipped to handle and in doing so is a greater hero than any of those whose names our children learn in school each day...

    Perhaps AC conceals their identity to encourage us to discover our own, true, selves and to stand on our own two feet without the crutch of celebrity or personality to lean on...

    Alternatively, perhaps AC is a simple coward hiding from the accountability and intellectual rigour that a properly attributed comment must endure. Personal integrity is a dwindling commodity, after all, and AC may well be tapped out...

  26. Steve Dulieu


    It's not this one perchance? That tail fin design looks about right for the lads from Mountain View.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems that some changes should be possible

    I find it odd that the NASA spokesman claimed they couldn't put any equipment into the passenger aircraft without recertifying them.

    I know that the interiors of the Boeing planes differ from one airline to another. Does that require recertification? I'd be surprised if that were true. So I would expect that NASA could put any reasonable amount of equipment inside the planes. Yet the NASA spokesman said they couldn't change anything inside the plane. Seems very odd. Maybe something got dropped or garbled in composing or editing the article, or maybe the spokesman was being economical with the truth. I don't know.

    I don't find it surprising that structural alterations would require recertification, but what sort of experiments would NASA want to do that would require that?

    I suppose most experiments would require some exterior access. The spokesman mentions atmosphere and surface features, so I guess they would need to get air samples and a view downward for a camera. I wouldn't think either of those would entail structural alterations to the planes, unless my idea of a structural modification is different than the FAA's idea of a structural modification.

    Can anyone shed any light on either aspect?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Where is this Jet Fighter? I pass Oracle's UK HQ in Reading every day on the way to work and there ain't no jet fighters.

  29. Steve

    Re: It's not a fighter...

    The difference between a trainer and a fighter is usually who you are selling it to.

    We sold (and used) the Hawk as a trainer jet because we had better jets to put our bombs on. Unsurprisingly, the first thing most of our customers did was strap a few bombs and missiles on to it.

  30. Dangermouse

    @George & @AC02:35

    Or, perhaps AC is well versed in the beautiful art of sarcasm?

    I would suggest he is a Brit, as the level of prose displayed obviously has confused some of our colonial cousins.

  31. Secretgeek
    Black Helicopters

    "Zornetzer said the plane will be modified so that noise is not an issue."

    Is it just me or does that sound kind of creepy?

    'Zornetzer said the plane will be modified (with a near silent anti-gravity drive/ future tech noise nullfication field/massively bigger engines so that it instantly deafens anyone within a 20 mile radius when it fires up/with a pod that drops suitcases of cash on anyone that might complain about the racket) so that noise won't be an issue.'

    No black plane symbol.

  32. Simon

    How high?

    SkippyBing: Just to help you out, the Alpha can fly at 50,000 which is a little higher than the Gulfstreams can get...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    RE: Google parking at NASA

    People routinely park private kit at RAF airfields - just saying, loike. (Yes, I know this is the UK and that's the US - but I'm guessing some of the moaners are UK)

  34. Rich

    It won't be a problem

    After they buy New Zealand.

    I think it comes with 8 surplus Skyhawks, a few Aermachiis amd two rather ropey 757's.

    Jetpacks by arrangement.

    I for one welcome our new Google overlords.

  35. Grant

    Good point Rich

    NZ has an entire squadron of upgraded A4 Skyhawks sitting around very lonely in a South Island hanger just waiting for anybody to show up with some cash. These have the (earlyish) F-16 level avionics & can carry Sidewinders.

    Since the A4's would own the (single) Google AlphaJet, perhaps the NZ govt should be talking to Ballmer about throwing more than chairs at the google guys?

    I like the idea of the browser wars really heating up...

  36. Gord
    Thumb Down

    It's too big so it must be bad!

    We've seen it before and yet it's still tedious.

    A large American corporation grows to goliath proportions. Perhaps this massive entity is secretly taking over the world? We must use our david-sized influence and bring down this giant before we all become one with the google! And the crazed leaders of such an planet-gulping monster MUST be evil and so every muscle twitch that's reported by the ever-so-accurate (and strangely goliath-sized themselves) media entities shows that doom is at hand. After smartly (smarmily?) lashing the bottom of one little bit of one toe of the monster, thereby keeping the bigger-is-badder meme alive, a self-satisfying pint is consumed, advertisers find contentment and bosses note that articles have been published, readers report in with variations on the theme and all is good.

    Google-bashing will keep this little monster fed until the next upstart IT company gets too big for comfort.


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