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Colorado Springs Named Finalist for Permanent Space Command HQ

The Air Force could establish the permanent Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs.EXPAND
The Air Force could establish the permanent Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Photo-illustration by Getty Images/Nataniil and Jay Vollmar

The U.S. Air Force has named Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs as one of six finalists in the race to become the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command.

"With our infrastructure, innovation, workforce and commitment to the space mission, there is no better permanent home for U.S. Space Command than Colorado," says Senator Michael Bennet in a statement announcing the finalists.

Space Command has already been operational on a temporary basis at Peterson for over a year, following the Trump administration's announcement that it was restarting the combatant command shut down back in 2002; it had been based at Peterson from 1985 until then. As a combatant command, Space Command coordinates all of the American military operations that focus on the realm of space.

The other finalists for the permanent headquarters of Space Command are located in New Mexico, Florida, Nebraska, Alabama and Texas. The Air Force will conduct site visits of all of these bases in December, then announce a final decision in January.

"While the other finalist installations have a great deal to offer, and I have been to most of them, none of them are as laser-focused on space warfighting as Colorado Springs," says Representative Doug Lamborn, a Republican who represents the area.

While the selection of Colorado Springs as a finalist is a victory for the city and El Paso County, it's bittersweet for Aurora and Arapahoe County, which had been vying to land the permanent Space Command headquarters at Buckley Air Force Base.

Congressman Jason Crow, a Democrat whose district includes Aurora, is still excited for the state, however. "I’ve long said Colorado needs to be the future home of the U.S. Space Command," he says in a statement. "We have the right infrastructure, an incredible pool of talent and military expertise, and a proud history as an aerospace leader."

Ultimately landing Space Command would be a big win for the state. According to an analysis by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Space Command’s 1,400 jobs alone would create an economic impact of more than a billion dollars a year. And that estimate doesn't account for up-front capital investments that would generate major contracts for construction companies and other businesses. After that, local aerospace companies could expect a windfall, too.

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A permanent Space Command headquarters in Colorado would also allow Colorado Springs to market itself to young STEM enthusiasts. 

In the meantime, Colorado Springs is considered a strong contender. Since it currently houses the temporary Space Command headquarters, putting the permanent headquarters in the same spot could save the feds money.

Another selling point: The state of Colorado, especially along the Front Range, is home to a flourishing aerospace industry that's the country's largest per capita and the second-largest overall, right behind California.

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