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New Mexico is in the running to be the home of two parts of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Training Readiness Command Headquarters, or STARCOM.
The U.S. Air Force this week announced that Kirtland Air Force Base is a finalist to be the home of two of five space deltas – which are essentially a specific mission or area of focus – that will form STARCOM. Kirtland and Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado are both being considered for the Range and Aggressor delta and the Test and Evaluation delta, according to the Air Force.
The military branch said in a news release that both Kirtland and Schriver have existing infrastructure that could support test, training and exercise activities within close distance to range and aggressor stakeholders.
Schriever, along with five other Space Force bases around the country, is also a finalist to be the STARCOM headquarters. Kirtland is not on that list.
Several Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation praised Kirtland being named a finalist.
“New Mexico is the future of space. We are home to an ideal climate, leading public and private space innovators, and an exceptional training pipeline for the growing science and engineering workforce,” Sen. Martin Heinrich said in a statement. “Kirtland Air Force Base has also built an exceptional track record of supporting training missions, and testing and evaluation of important space capabilities.”
Heinrich is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee that oversees military construction funding.
Kirtland is already home to the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and other space-related endeavors. The state is also home to White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico and the two national laboratories, which have also attracted a variety of companies to provide support services to the industry.
Sen. Ben Ray Luján noted that KAFB has a long history of space technology expertise.
“New Mexico is at the forefront of science, research, technology and security, and Albuquerque’s endless skies, access to the outdoors, and amazing communities offer a welcoming home to STARCOM, which would bring additional economic development to a community well-positioned to further support the Space Force’s work,” Rep. Melanie Stansbury said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Kirtland Air Force Base as the Space Force continues the selection process.”