UC Berkeley, NASA Announce Plans for New Research Center

The 36-acre Berkeley Space Center will be located at NASA's Ames Research Center and include research space, laboratories, and classrooms for University of California, Berkeley students.
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Published on October 19, 2023
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  • University of California, Berkeley and NASA are partnering to build the Berkeley Space Center.
  • The center will be located at NASA's Ames Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
  • The 36-acre research space will include laboratories, classrooms, and potentially student housing.

The University of California, Berkeley and NASA are partnering to build a brand-new research center focused on aviation, space, and the environment — all in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The Berkeley Space Center will be located on NASA Ames' Moffett Field in Mountain View, California, and is expected to include 1.4 million square feet of research space, including laboratories and classrooms for Berkeley students.

"We're hoping to create an ecosystem where Berkeley talent can collaborate with the private sector and co-locate their research and development teams,” Alexandre Bayen, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and associate provost for Moffett Field program development, said in a press release. “And since we will be close to NASA talent and technology in the heart of Silicon Valley, we hope to leverage that to form future partnerships."

Currently, NASA's Research Park hosts 25 companies on-site, including Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon. The research park is also home to Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley campus and is located less than 10 miles from Stanford University.

“We believe that the research and the capabilities of a major university like Berkeley could be a significant addition to the work being done at Ames …” NASA Ames Director Eugene Tu said in the release. “We have major facilities here … and the university will likely build facilities here that we might leverage as well. So, I look at that as a triad of students, faculty and facilities.”

San Francisco-based developer SKS Partners will lead the project. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2026, with certain buildings projected to be move-in ready as early as 2027.

Berkeley also “hopes eventually to establish housing,” according to the release, considering the satellite campus would be a 47-mile commute one way.

"In the next couple of years, we could conceivably have a semester rotation program, where UC Berkeley students spend one semester at Berkeley Space Center, take three classes taught there, do their research there, are temporarily housed there for a semester, just like they would do a semester abroad in Paris," Bayen said.

"Ultimately, we hope to build experiences that currently do not exist for students, staff and faculty and create an innovation ecosystem where breakthroughs that require public-private partnerships are enabled.”