Three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has written an opinion piece for Fox News that comes out swinging against SpaceX, accusing the company of benefiting from potentially having a monopoly on national security launches. The article also attacks US Sen. John McCain as a “lead sponsor” of provisions to give SpaceX a monopoly on launch services.
“Allowing SpaceX to obtain a monopoly over launch services harms taxpayers much more than forbidding the Pentagon from purchasing Russian products harms Vladimir Putin,” Paul writes. “If this provision becomes law, SpaceX will be able to charge the government more than they could in even a quasi-competitive market. This monopoly will also stifle innovation in rocket launching technology.”
Paul correctly notes that SpaceX has enjoyed substantial support from NASA, but, in return, the company has provided services at a significantly lower cost for the space agency. However, the irony of his “monopoly” argument is that it was SpaceX, and its Falcon 9 rocket, that brought competition into the Air Force launch services agreements. Before SpaceX was certified two years ago to compete for national security launch contracts, United Launch Alliance was the sole provider of these services for a decade. SpaceX has since provided launches at a large discount for the military.