KINGSLEY, MI – The Former Pugsley Correctional Facility is one of six finalists that could become the home of a new Space Command Control Center that would support two launch sites around the state. According to Up North Live, the old prison made the final cut of a group of 13 sites around Michigan.
The command center would be responsible for controlling launches from a vertical launch site north of Marquette and a horizontal launch facility at Oscoda. These two facilities, combined with the command center, are expected to create more than 2,000 new jobs. Work on the Oscoda facility is expected to be completed in early 2024, according to the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association.
The association estimates that up to 40,000 jobs could be created as the space program expands in Michigan in the years to come. The launch sites will involve initiatives that will work to improve several areas of the state’s technology for things like internet access, 5G networks for autonomous vehicles, and other areas such as communications, education, medicine. and first responders.
Grand Traverse Director of Economic Development Lauren Tucker is hoping the site will be selected thanks to a few perks already in place at the facility.
“We have the security of a federal base, but in fact the commercial access, as well as this one, is supposed to be a dual-use command and control center,” Tucker said. “Here in Northern Michigan, we can be a connection to space, which would not only increase awareness in our community, but also increase jobs at all levels in the STEM field, including high paying jobs. in the space industry.
Pugsley Correctional Institution was closed in 2016 by the state as the level of inmates declined. A decision on where to build the command center is expected in November.
Detroit News reports other sites under consideration are Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, a site in Ypsilanti, a property in Dowagiac, the former Sawyer Air Base in Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie’s Chippewa County Airport.