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Alabama congressman calls Huntsville 'best' choice for Space Command

By PAUL GATTIS | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham | Published: September 4, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Republican from Fairhope, Alabama, is not the first person to give full-throated support for Huntsville to be headquarters for the newly established U.S. Space Command.

But the 2020 U.S. Senate candidate is the latest.

Byrne on Wednesday released a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in which the congressman lauded Huntsville's high-tech history as well as the virtues of Redstone Arsenal.

"Huntsville has consistently been one of our nation's hubs for space technology, which makes it the best and obvious choice for USSPACECOM," Byrne wrote.

President Donald Trump formally announce Space Command in a White House ceremony last week, but there was no word on where its headquarters would be located.

The command's startup headquarters will be in Colorado — the favorite to land the HQ with four cities among the six finalists that also includes Huntsville.

When a site was not announced last week, it fueled optimism that Huntsville might have a shot after all.

And Byrne sought to capitalize on that shot in his letter to Esper dated Tuesday.

"Huntsville's space legacy goes back decades, and it is ready for this most important command," Byrne wrote.

The congressman then briefly recounted Huntsville's space history and its role in overseeing development of the Space Launch System rocket expected to ferry astronauts to the moon in 2024, per an announcement made in Huntsville earlier this year by Vice President Mike Pence.

"Redstone Arsenal hosts the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development organizations, the Missile Defense Agency and NASA, showing their commitment to space technology within the national security architecture," Byrne said in his letter. "USSPACECOM headquarters would seamlessly fit with other missions located on the base."

Byrne also cited Cummings Research Park — the nation's second-largest research park — as a favorable point.

"This community is crucial in supporting our military's many missions and stands ready to support USSPACECOM," the letter said.

“Nowhere in the United States can match the workforce, history, infrastructure, resources and support that you will find in north Alabama.”

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