By CBSLA Staff

PALMDALE (CBSLA) — The U.S. Air Force is formally evaluating the city of Palmdale as a candidate for the future, permanent home of the U.S. Space Command.

Palmdale, in Los Angeles County’s high desert, has previously been the home of other aerospace institutions like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Edwards AFB, Los Angeles AFB, NASA facilities, JPL, Caltech, and the U.S. Air Force Plant 42, according to Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.

A B-2 Stealth Bomber lands at the Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California on July 17, 2014, as the US Air Force and manufacturer Northrop Grumman celebrated the 25th anniversary of the B-2 Stealth Bomber’s first flight. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the US Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber, a key component in the nation’s long range strike arsenal and one of the most survivable aircraft in the world. (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

“We proudly refer to the Antelope Valley as the ‘Aerospace Valley’ because of its long and distinguished history as the cradle and proving grounds of aerospace and space innovation,” Rep. Mike Garcia said in a statement. “It is the home of generations of test pilots breaking the sound barrier, astronauts testing the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, and commercial aerospace companies testing privately-owned spacecraft.”

The U.S. Space Command, the newest of the 11 unified commands in the Department of Defense, will oversee operations using personnel and assets managed by the U.S. Space Force, which remains part of the Air Force.

The next phase of the evaluation process will score communities based on how they relate to the mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and overall costs to the Air Force.

“This community – built on the spirit of innovation – makes The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe possible,” Brigadier General Matthew W. Higer, commander of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, said in a statement. “Air Force Plant 42, already a vital part of our Nation’s critical defense industrial base, is a natural fit for Headquarters U.S. Space Command.”

The U.S. Space Command is temporarily headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. A location is expected to be selected by early 2021.

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