U.S. Space Command was put back in business Tuesday with a memo from President Donald Trump.
The memo ordered the Pentagon to re-establish the four-star command, which will likely again call Colorado home.
U.S. Space Command was headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs for two decades until it was folded to establish U.S. Northern Command following the 9/11 attacks.
The command is a step toward establishing the Space Force that Trump has long touted, but it remains unclear whether that separate service will pass congressional muster.
Insiders say the new command likely represents an incremental shift, essentially granting more authority to Peterson's Air Force Space Command and its boss, Gen. Jay Raymond, who is now the military's top space leader.
Trump's order will give the new command "the space‑related responsibilities previously assigned to the Commander, United States Strategic Command." Those duties already fall on Raymond, who last year was put in charge of all military space activities.
The difference between Air Force Space Command and the new command with a slightly different name comes down to money and authority.
The nation's combatant commands, which will now include Space Command, report directly to the secretary of defense. They also get separate budgets and separate budget hearings before Congress. That could mean a boost in space money.
Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said he's pleased with the move.
"Establishing U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs is the only serious option for providing the desired capability on the shortest, most cost-effective timeline, and is a natural long-term home for this exciting new organization," Lamborn said Tuesday in an email.
The command would include about 1,000 additional troops, further motivation for Lamborn to fight for its headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Before the city officially gets U.S. Space Command back, though, there will be plenty of work for Congress and the Pentagon.
The Pentagon must update a document called the "unified command plan" that outlines the responsibilities of all the combatant commands.
That will outline which functions go to space command, including whether it will oversee America's missile defense efforts that now also fall under U.S. Strategic Command.
It could also determine which jobs now given to intelligence agencies — including the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency — could be folded into the command.
The Pentagon will get to recommend a permanent home for the new command and select a new commander for it.
Lawmakers will get a say in where the command lands and will also have to approve the commander, the new duties and, in their biggest role, set U.S. Space Command's budget.
Space has been a bipartisan priority in recent years as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have poured in resources to counter the advantages American troops get from satellites. In combat, U.S. forces rely on satellites for navigation, targeting, intelligence and communication.
Most of America's satellite power rests in Colorado, with Buckley, Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases controlling the constellation of military satellites and monitoring Earth's orbit for enemy actions.
In recent years, the role played by Colorado Springs has increased through the creation of the National Space Defense Center at Schriever. That center coordinates defense of satellites for the military and the nation's intelligence agencies.
Lamborn said the outsized role already played by Colorado Springs makes the city a natural home for the new command.
"Colorado is the epicenter of the national security space enterprise and was home to the original Space Command for 17 years," Lamborn said.