HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command will be located at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.
According to a statement from the Secretary of the Air Force, Huntsville was confirmed as the preferred location for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.
The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters. The decision was based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense.
Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs.
Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.
The following cities will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Bellevue, Nebraska
- Cape Canaveral, Florida
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- San Antonio, Texas
Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey released a statement on Wednesday following the news.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command!’ said Governor Ivey.
“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. The bottom line is simple, the Redstone Region is the most natural choice to become home to such an important mission for our country.”
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense, praised the Air Force’s selection of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the permanent location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, following a two-year competition for the basing decision.
“Redstone Arsenal will be the new home to U.S. Space Command. This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force. This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer. 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. I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force,” said Senator Shelby.
Senator Shelby has advocated for the selection of Redstone Arsenal for the U.S. Space Command headquarters throughout the competition, having continually highlighted to the Air Force the wide-ranging benefits that Huntsville would provide.
Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth welcomes Huntsville’s selection as the headquarters of U.S. Space Command.
“Alabama-made rockets first launched Americans into space and later carried them safely to the moon. Huntsville’s selection as the headquarters for the U.S. Space Command further solidifies Alabama as the national leader in aerospace research and development,” says Ainsworth in his statement.
“We welcome Space Command to Huntsville with open arms and a good dose of southern hospitality.”
Congressman Robert Aderholt released a statement commending the decision to bring U.S. Space Command to Redstone Arsenal.
“This decision is not only a good one for North Alabama, but also good for America. Locating the United States Space Command in Huntsville is smart, because it’s already the center of much of our nation’s space, military and strategic command capabilities,” said Congressman Aderholt in the statement.
“It’s also located near Washington; just one hour and 15 minutes by plane. The area also has a high quality, low cost of living for those who will be stationed here as part of the Command.”
“Our space program was born, raised and came to greatness from Alabama soil. So, it’s only fitting that the next great incarnation of our leadership in space would be firmly planted here as well.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle issued a statement on the selection on Wednesday as well.
“The City of Huntsville, Alabama is honored that Redstone Arsenal has been named as the site for the United States Space Command,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.
“We are grateful to Senator Richard Shelby for his confidence in Huntsville. Senator Shelby has been front and center of this space effort from its inception. As one of our nation’s strongest defense advocates and most knowledgeable leaders in defense matters, Senator Shelby recognized the value of a program that would focus on space assets and threats. It is his vision to protect our country in space with a dedicated command.
“We thank the U.S. Air Force site selection team for choosing Redstone Arsenal from its final six candidate cities. 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. We will make you proud of your decision.
“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. From the 1950s when Explorer I went into space to the birthplace of NASA, space is in our DNA. We have built the space infrastructure and technical expertise to lead this effort.
“The site team learned about the Redstone region’s proven track record in relocating military commands to our community. Army Aviation moved here in 1995 and Army Materiel Command moved here in 2011. Our low cost of living and doing business means the country’s tax paying dollar will stretch much farther, providing more valuable resources for our space effort and warfighter.
“We look forward to the partnership with U.S. Space Command and pledge to make them a success from day one.”
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong gave his thoughts on Wednesday’s selection in a statement as well.
“Once again, the selection of Redstone Arsenal for US Space Command demonstrates what regional partnerships can do when we collectively work together to reach our goals”.
Chairman Strong added, “This objective process by the Department of Defense, and in the best interest of national security, thoroughly and objectively reviewed workforce, transportation, force protection, and quality of life. I congratulate all of our local, state, and federal leaders from Alabama, particularly United States Senator for Alabama Richard Shelby for his leadership and work to bring Space Command to Alabama, along with our neighbors in Tennessee that have worked together to prove Redstone Arsenal is the true and best choice for the United States Space Command Headquarters.”
The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.