Rocket City Named New Location of Space Command


Julia Wilhide, Writer

Big changes could be coming to Huntsville soon, with the interesting recent developments in Space Command concerning our area. The Air Force decided that Huntsville, Alabama was the preferred new location of the government program Space Command. Governor Kay Ivey was notified on Wednesday morning of this decision, made by U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett. Governor Ivey supported this decision, having said in a statement that she “couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command.” Governor Ivey had been involved in the process prior to this, as well, as she and other officials from Alabama (specifically Huntsville and Redstone) had communicated with government officials, providing their argument for this area being chosen and discussing other details. Huntsville Mayor, Tommy Battle, has also expressed his positive opinion on the situation, having said that the city is honored to have been selected.

For a little background, Space Command is  a recently developed branch of the U.S. military’s combative forces. It may seem a little strange to have a combatant command set in space, but maybe an explanation of it will clear up some of that. Space Command’s purpose is to respond to challenges to the U.S. dominance in space from other countries, and, according to the branch’s commander, General John Raymond, it is also to “protect and defend the space domain.” There was a originally a Space Command in 1985, but it later became a part of U.S. Strategic Command. In 2019, on August 29, U.S. Space Command was activated by President Trump. Currently, the headquarters of Space Command are temporarily located in Colorado Springs, and since 2020, there has been a search for the right location in which to base the command.

Many other areas were on the list that was considered for this, including these -which were some of the final ones considered: Port San Antonio in Texas, Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Despite the merits of other locations brought up, Huntsville, Alabama was ultimately chosen as the preferred future permanent location of Space Command’s headquarters. The final decision has to be made after an environmental impact analysis is completed, so the results will not be known until 2023.

The reasons for the decision to move it to the “Rocket City” seem to be Huntsville’s history of experience with space and the living quality in this area, but there is some variation and disbelief about the true motives of the decisions being made in the government concerning this. Some people claim that the decision to move the headquarters of Space Command to Alabama was politically influenced or motivated. Additionally, some Colorado officials have disagreed with these decisions, and have said that the move will hurt the program. They have pointed out that it will disrupt those working for the command. Colorado Representative Doug Lamborn wants the decision to be changed, leaving Colorado Springs the base of the command; he has said that this change will “damage America’s national security,” as it may make the country more vulnerable during the time of the transfer. It is possible that this decision could be reversed sometime in the future, as the headquarters is not set to change for the next six years, and changes in government leaders may mean changes for the Space Command program. 

If everything does end up going this way, it certainly seems as if the Huntsville and the surrounding area, including Madison, will be tremendously affected: in population growth, available job types, and who moves here for work, among other things. This location for the Command will bring 1,600 new jobs to the area, according to For an area that is already growing larger as the years pass, Madison will almost certainly look vastly different following the installation of space command headquarters. Within the next ten years, this city may completely change, becoming more integral to space exploration and defense, and drawing more people into the area.