The Palmdale City Council on July 1, voted to organize a strong effort to become the prime location for the new United States Space Force.
The Space Force was formed, in December, as the nation’s sixth military branch with its headquarters set for Washington D.C.
President Donald J. Trump on Feb. 18, signed a directive centralizing all military space functions under the Space Force, which will be overseen by the Department of the Air Force.
The Antelope Valley Press strongly commends the council for its action, which makes perfect sense on so many aspects of the new branch.
Trump said “Today, I’m thrilled to sign a new order taking the next step to create the United States Space Force. So important, when you look at defense, when you look at all of the other aspects of where the world will be someday. I mean, this is the beginning. This is a very important process.”
Allison Gatlin, AV Press aerospace specialist, quoted Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy in announcing the bid. He said, “What better avenue than our 600 acres right next to (Air Force) Plant 42 to help support the future of aerospace than the Aerospace Valley?”
The Space Command is one of the military’s 11 combatant commands operating within the services.
The Air Force reopened its search for a Space Command headquarters in May, seeking applications from communities what meet specific criteria. Until a new headquarters is opened, Space Command will continue to be housed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I congratulate staff for putting a competitive package together,” Murphy said. Palmdale’s bid has the endorsement of Gov. Gavin Newsom and support from state Sen. Scott Wilk, Assemblyman Tom Lackey and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
“We would hope that Kevin McCarthy, (R-Cal.) the House Minority Leader — from his high level government position — will be an eager supporter because Palmdale and Lancaster form part of his district. Palmdale and the Antelope Valley are referred to as the Aerospace Valley for a reason. We have the talent, the knowledge and the infrastructure right at our fingertips to take our nation into the future,” Wilk said. “Palmdale is the home to Air Force Plant 42 and the Antelope Valley is home to not only Edwards Air Force Base, but operations of every major aerospace contractor, as well. This is a good fit for the Air Force and a great fit for the AV and I am most grateful that Governor Newsom has approved our application to the program.”
AF Plant 42 is home to major defense contractors including Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, Northrop Grumman and Boeing. It is under the command of Edwards Air Force Base, itself home to the Air Force Test Center and a legacy of cutting edge aerospace development.
“Some of the most sophisticated aircraft including the space shuttles, have been designed, built, flown and tested here at Plant 42 and Edwards Air Force Base. Aerospace is in our DNA,” Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.
Palmdale is experiencing dynamic growth in and around Plant 42, with projects such as the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-Triton unmanned aircraft programs.
Add these superlative projects to the development at Edwards AFB and the civilian space companies nearby at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Aerospace Valley is a natural for this new development and we urge the people of the region, including the Lancaster council, to join enthusiastically in this job-laden and star-struck development.