May 15, 2019 at 1:44 PM CDT - Updated May 15 at 11:03 PM
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Secretary of the Air Force confirms Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal is on the shortlist to house the headquarters for United States Space Command.
The Air Force released a list of potential headquarter locations on Tuesday.
Candidate locations include four Air Force bases in Colorado, Vandenberg AFB in California, and Redstone Arsenal.
Space Command’s creation was approved by Congress in 2018 after direction from the President. Space Command will be the 11th unified combat command.
According to the Air Force the next step in the process will be site surveys and analysis. Locations will be evaluated based on mission requirements, capacity, environmental impact, and cost.
The Air Force expects to select a preferred location sometime this summer, which will be followed by an environment analysis.
President Donald Trump nominated Air Force General John Raymond who currently leads Air Force Space Command to head the new Space Command last month.
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said Huntsville is uniquely positioned to hold the Space Command.
“We’re already doing things many people can only fathom...The heavy concentration of engineers, our workforce that’s here, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, this is the optimal place," he said.
He said Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) position as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman could also benefit Huntsville.
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Senior VP Mike Ward said the one thing Huntsville lacks is a strong Air Force presence, but that’s not the only factor in such a decision.
“Quality of life is another extremely important consideration, in these types of evaluations. I think we offer a very superior quality of life,” he said.