Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
August G. Schalkham
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Los Angeles World Airports
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE – NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center has received approval to establish an Aircraft Operations Facility at the former Rockwell International / North American Aircraft production facility in Palmdale. The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Board of Airport Commissioners endorsed a 20-year lease agreement with NASA earlier this week for use of a large hangar and surrounding acreage at the facility adjacent to U.S. Air Force Plant 42.
The move will initially bring five specialized science platform aircraft to the Palmdale facility by 2008. An estimated 150 Dryden civil service and contractor staff will also be transferred to the Palmdale facility. In addition, visiting scientists from around the world will be based at the site while their experiments or missions are in progress.
Under terms of the lease, NASA will lease Bldg. 703, one of the five major buildings on the site, and about 16.2 acres as an aircraft operations facility to support various airborne science programs. NASA will invest in excess of $6.5 million in various facility modifications and upgrades and about $1.4 million per year for the lease. The agreement calls for LAWA to invest approximately $4 million, primarily to re-roof Bldg. 703 and to install a new central utility plant for the facility.
"This will be a first-class facility, convenient for visiting scientists and educators, with easy access to Palmdale," commented NASA Dryden Center Director Kevin Petersen. "It will be a great addition to the center's mission capability."
Bldg. 703 contains some 422,000 square feet of floor space, including 210,000 square feet in the central hangar area and an equivalent amount of office space on four floors on the north and south sides of the building. The facility is part of the Site 9 complex and is located just north of 30th Street East and Rancho Vista Boulevard (Avenue P). It has easy access to the taxiways and runways at USAF Plant 42.
"We are pleased with the way things turned out and are anxious to take occupancy," said Jerry C. McKee, NASA Dryden's Deputy Associate Director for Management and lead NASA negotiator for the lease. "There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead of us to make the facility ready to house our unique aircraft, the first of which will arrive in early November."
"I'm delighted to welcome NASA as a new tenant," said Bob Gluck, manager of the LA/Palmdale Regional Airport, which is owned and operated by LAWA. "We are extremely grateful for the tireless efforts of all the parties who worked to make this outcome possible."
"None of this would have been possible without the support of the cities of Los Angeles and Palmdale and the folks over at Plant 42," added McKee.
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PHOTO EDITORS: A publication-quality photo to accompany this release is available for downloading at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/newsphotos/
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