TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Patrick Air Force Base, along the state’s Space Coast in Brevard County, is one of six finalists to be home of the U.S. Space Command headquarters, the latest of 11 unified command under the U.S. Department of Defense.
The U.S. Air Force announced its finalists Thursday and included Florida in its list.
The Air Force initially announced six other finalists in 2019, and Florida wasn’t on the list. But the selection process was restarted after complaints that the initial phase wasn’t transparent enough.
The other locations on the final list are Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama and Port San Antonio in Texas.
“It was very opaque, it was not well defined, and kind of out of the blue — Florida was completely excluded,” U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz said in a phone interview. “Florida was out of it. I mean, we were done.”
But with the new look at sites to host the headquarters, Florida is now in the running.
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U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz said Florida is well equipped to host the headquarters, given its history with NASA and private space companies.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a statement sent by text from a spokesman, said, “Florida remains the world’s premiere gateway to space, and with our state’s long history of supporting our nation’s efforts in space, Florida provides the perfect location for this new headquarters.”
Sen. Marco Rubio also touted the state’s space industry in a news release after the decision was announced.
“Florida’s Space Coast has been America’s gateway to the stars for decades, and Florida’s robust, rapidly growing and innovative commercial space industry, in partnership with NASA, is continuing to build off this historic legacy,” Rubio said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)