Asked about the role private individuals like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may play in the U.S.’s new program — especially given SpaceX’s recent decision to increase prices, forcing NASA to pay more for their current contracts — Smith said he was not particularly concerned about the threat of a monopoly:
You might argue that SpaceX has a monopoly. I don’t quite see it that way. I think there is more competition. SpaceX is still providing provisions to the international space station. They are still sending rockets up at less cost than NASA has in the past or than the Russians do. So they are still less than the alternative, but we shouldn’t let any company have a corner of the market and there is enough commercial interest in space these days that I think you will have competition and I don’t think any company is going to be allowed to artificially increase prices.
One concern Smith does have, however, is the impact of Democratic obstruction.
“When it comes to a Space Force, Democrats have a history often times of being anti-defense, anti-military and we’re seeing that manifested again with their opposition to the Space Force,” he said. “Let’s not just automatically reject any idea that comes from the president or the military. Let’s investigate it. Let’s see where it goes. Let’s see if it has practical application.”
“The Democrats just automatically reject — whether it’s a space force, whether its anything the president might propose, whether it’s a new Supreme Court justice… Their first reaction is ‘no, never’ and I think the American people are going to react not well to Democrats who say ‘no’ and keep denying us progress in this country,” Smith concluded.