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Air Force selects Huntsville, Ala., as home to U.S. Space Command

Redstone Arsenal, pictured in 2018, has been selected as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters. Photo by Samantha Tyler/U.S. Department of Defense
Redstone Arsenal, pictured in 2018, has been selected as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters. Photo by Samantha Tyler/U.S. Department of Defense

Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The Secretary of the Air Force has selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters.

The Space Force and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the decision Wednesday afternoon.

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"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," Ivey said in a statement shared on Twitter.

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

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U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., also responded enthusiastically to Huntsville's selection.

"This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force," Shelby said in a press release. "This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer."

"This decision by the Air Force makes sense given all the equities in Alabama. Defending our country against threats from our enemies takes a national effort," said Rogers, who is also a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. "I am proud of the role Alabama plays in this overall effort."

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The announcement comes after the Air Force officials assessed six previously announced locations "based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense."

The other five locations announced in November -- Albuquerque, N.M., Bellevue, Neb., Cape Canaveral, Fla., Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Antonio, Texas -- will also remain "reasonable alternative locations" for Space Command's headquarters.

The Air Force said it will make a final decision for the location of Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending results from the required environmental impact analysis.

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Colorado Springs will remain the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready.

According to the Air Force, Huntsville compared favorably across more factors than any other community, due to its large workforce, superior infrastructure, quality schools and low initial and recurring costs.

Redstone Arsenal also offered a facility to support the headquarters while a permanent facility is constructed.

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Blue Origin, the space company founded in 2000 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is planning to invest $200 million to build its 200,000-square-foot engine factory in Huntsville.

On Thursday, the company successfully launched and recovered a new capsule that includes new amenities for space tourists.

Blue Origin is just one of several space-related companies that has chosen the Huntsville area for operations in recent years as the space economy has heated up.

Huntsville's nickname has been "Rocket City" since the 1950s, even before the Saturn series of rockets were developed and tested there.

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