Purdue University and three other Midwestern schools have formed a space-oriented academic and research alliance aimed at luring the U.S. Space Command headquarters to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
University of Nebraska President Ted Carter said the partnership with the University of North Dakota, Kansas State University and Purdue would develop new degree programs and research initiatives, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Offutt is among the six finalists to become the headquarters for the new Space Command, which was reactivated as a separate combatant command last year after 17 years as part of the Offutt-based U.S. Strategic Command.
Other finalists are Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama and the former Kelly Air Force Base in Texas.
Carter said he contacted Kansas State President Richard Myers, North Dakota Chancellor Mark Hagerott and Purdue President Mitch Daniels about forming the initiative. It was announced in a weekend op-ed published in the Annapolis (Maryland) Capital-Gazette.
“Our universities have numerous existing strengths on which to build this alliance,” they wrote. “In our view, the Heartland is the right home for U.S. Space Command.”
Their universities collectively enroll 163,000 students and already offer programs in engineering, space law, cybersecurity and information technology.
A final decision by the Air Force on the headquarters location is expected in mid-January.