ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s largest city is among 31 potential locations for the federal government’s new space command center.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced Friday that they will lead a community effort to land what is expected to be a major federal facility that would add more than 1,000 jobs. The two Democrats had previously submitted a letter of interest proposing the city as an ideal location.
They cited New Mexico’s existing defense and science installations and the state’s growing aerospace sector.
“Our attitude should be that we pursue every opportunity to employ New Mexicans in highly skilled and good-paying careers," the governor said in a statement. "That is certainly my approach. I am excited that, with the mayor’s partnership, Albuquerque and our state are moving forward in this process.”
The U.S. Air Force plans to make the final decision about the location early next year.
Keller said a permanent U.S. Space Command center in Albuquerque “just makes sense.” He and other elected officials pointed to ongoing research in the state and efforts by Virgin Galactic and other companies to launch commercial space ventures from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.
The U.S. Space Force, which was officially established in December, is the first new military service since the U.S. Air Force was established in 1947. It will be the provider of forces to U.S. Space Command, a separate organization established in 2019 as the overseer of the military’s space operations.
President Donald Trump has made clear he sees the newest service as critical to the future of American defense.
Members of the state's congressional delegation also have voiced support for locating the command center in New Mexico.