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US Space Command coming to Huntsville

The Air Force has selected Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal as the home of the U.S. Space Command, according to officials.

“Redstone Arsenal will be the new home to U.S. Space Command,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said in a statement today. “Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons — our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things.”

The decision came after a two-year selection process.

Gov. Kay Ivey said she was notified of the decision this morning when Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Bob Moriarity called to inform her of Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett’s Space Command Headquarters decision.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command,” Ivey said. “Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration.

“This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations.”

Other locations that were considered included Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and Port San Antonio in Texas. Officials announced that more than $107 million of public and private money would be put toward the command, according to The Associated Press.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the Air Force selection committee was thorough.

“This group was meticulous in its review and assessment of potential sites, and they put us through the paces in their research these past two years,” he said in a statement. “The site selection team recognized what we know to be true — Huntsville is a natural choice. We are space. We do space. From the Redstone Arsenal installation to the Space and Missile defense assets that are here, Huntsville has been the leader in all thing space since day one.”

The U.S. Space Command was established in August 2019 and is the Defense Department’s eleventh unified combatant command. Its mission is to better advance U.S. military operations in space.

The Air Force initially planned to announce a home base for Space Command’s headquarters, along with its about 1,400 military and civilian jobs, by late 2019. It had released a different list of finalists last year, but scrapped those plans in May and began a new search.

The Redstone Regional Alliance and Huntsville/Madison County Chamber issued a statement praising the selection on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are confident that the Air Force has made the correct decision to base the Space Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal. The Redstone site offers the Department of Defense the lowest cost option with superior regional capabilities, capacity and quality of life. We look forward to working with Space Command to make this transition as seamless as possible.”

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