According to four individuals who have inside knowledge of the project, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is building a massive airship in a hangar at the NASA Ames Research Center. The four insiders, who have discussed some details about the highly-secret project, say that Brin first became fascinated with airships when he began visiting Ames, which is located in Mountain View, California, near Alphabet Inc.’s headquarters. After seeing old photographs of the USS Macon, a huge airship built by the US Navy and kept at the Ames Center, Google’s co-founder decided to build his own craft.
There have been very few confirmed details about this project so far, although it is known that the hangars that are thought to house Brin’s project have been leased from NASA since 2015 as experimental laboratories, by a unit of Google called Planetary Ventures. The airship, according to the four insiders, looks like a Zeppelin, and there is currently a large metal substructure which takes up most of the room in one hangar. The former director of projects at NASA Ames, Alan Weston is said to be leading the project, although he has not confirmed this, or commented on the project so far. Weston has an interesting background, having once been an engineer on the US government's Strategic Defence Initiative, more commonly known as the Star Wars missile defense system before he went to work for NASA. Weston stated in a 2013 interview that he believes airships could be more efficient than planes at hauling cargo.
When he was recently asked about the airship project in an email, Brin replied, “sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this right now.” It is currently unknown whether this is a purely personal project or whether it is related to a future Google company, although Sergey Brin is well-known to enjoy aeronautics and even jumped out of a plane wearing Google Glass to promote its launch. Google’s other co-founder, Larry Page also has a keen interest in aeronautical projects – he is well-known for backing start-up companies looking to create flying cars. One of these companies, Kitty Hawk, recently released a video showcasing the abilities of their flying car for the first time.