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Palmdale being eyed for new U.S. Space Force HQ, which could be good news for Kern County

Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 21:34:54-04

PALMDALE, Calif. — The U.S. Space command was previously a part of the U.S. Air force, and it was headquartered in Colorado. But now that the Space Force is its own branch of the military, they’re looking for a new headquarters, and it could be coming close to home - Palmdale.

“Palmdale and the Antelope Valley and the greater region up here in the Mojave Desert is an ideal location. We have the space, we have the sky, and we’ve got the brainpower," said Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer.

The city of Palmdale is in L.A. County and is home to Plant 42, where the U.S. Airforce does aircraft manufacturing. But it’s also about 20 miles away from Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County. Palmdale city officials are making a big push as of late to convince the Space Force to call their city home.

“This could be a significant economic impact for both counties," said Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy.

Murphy says if Space Command HQ comes to town, that could be nothing but positive for the other air and space installations in the area, including Edwards, Mojave Air and Space Port, and China Lake Naval base, all of which are in Kern.

“There could be upwards of a 20-factor, 20 times factor, of the businesses and industries that will want to locate near and around and support space command directly," Murphy said.

“So from Mojave out to Ridgecrest, there’s a lot of regional discussions that go on, we’re all partners in this thing. And it’s gonna benefit everybody," Mayor Hofbauer said.

Governor Gavin Newsom has thrown his support behind the idea. And so has Congressman Kevin McCarthy. The Minority Leader saying "there are many reasons why our region would be a great home for Space Force, something I have personally stressed with the Trump Administration since the founding of Space Force."

Palmdale officials say they are on the shortlist of candidates at this point, with other areas including Albuquerque, New Mexico and Colorado, among others.

“I’m not afraid of any of them. I think we have the best argument of why it should land in the aerospace valley," Murphy said.

Mayor Hofbauer says he expects a decision to be made by around election time. He says late October is what he’s hearing.