National defense goals could boost Alabama’s space industry
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Aerospace investment appears poised to blast off in Alabama, as companies such as Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne plan new jobs and new facilities.
The firms are expanding because Huntsville-based government space programs could soon have billions of new dollars to spend for defense and telecommunications, AL.com reported.
Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne are tapping into Huntsville’s main technology market: national defense.
It includes an array of initiatives such as communications satellites, possibly armed satellites, and even satellite clusters that may one day become home to the internet, the news site reported.
“The idea is the internet being based in space instead of here and based on fiber optics as it is today,” United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said in Huntsville recently. “It’s a new mission, and we’re all pretty excited about it.”
President Donald Trump has spoken of a new Space Force branch of the armed services to defend American assets in space.
In his recent State of the Union address, Trump said the U.S. is developing a state-of-the-art missile defense system. In an earlier speech at the Pentagon on Jan. 17, Trump said that a space-based missile defense system will be “a very, very big part of our defense.”
The president has said he would ask Congress for a large investment in missile defense in his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal.
Much of that work would likely be managed by the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville and performed by contractors with a presence in the region, AL.com reported.
“On the national security side, the idea of space resilience — everybody protecting the contested assets — is going to lead to other systems coming out,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith told Al.com. “We’re going to have to protect not only our national security assets but also commercial assets.”