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NASA’s chief talks about space station handover

Starliner and space station
An artist’s conception shows a Boeing Starliner space taxi approaching the International Space Station. (Boeing Illustration)

For months, the White House has been talking about transitioning the International Space Station to commercial control by 2025, and now NASA’s administrator says he’s working on it.

In a Washington Post interview, Administrator Jim Bridenstine says “there are people out there that can do commercial management” of the station.

“I’ve talked to many large corporations that are interested in getting involved in that through a consortium, if you will.” he told the Post.

Bridenstine declined to name the corporations, and the usual suspects — including Boeing, the prime commercial contractor for the station — are mum on the matter.

Even the companies that have voiced interest in managing orbital outposts, such as NanoRacks and Axiom Space, say they’d prefer to have their own base of operations rather than taking over the U.S. segment of the international station. NanoRacks, for instance, has proposed creating outposts using converted rocket upper stages.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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