NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden discusses the development of commercial space travel and NASA's contract with SpaceX to fly astronauts to the International Space Station next year. (Washington Post Live)

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke at The Post’s 2016 Transformers live journalism event May 18 in Washington, D.C. Learn more here.

“NASA has never built a big rocket. That’s a misconception. . . . We owned the rocket. We don’t own the rocket anymore. We buy a service.

“The International Space Station “is a human-made structure that has a lifetime. Today we think it’s maybe 2028, so we are working feverishly to help others build this low Earth orbit infrastructure that is commercial so that NASA doesn’t have to invest taxpayers’ money in building and maintaining this infrastructure. That’s the deep hole (ph) from which we’re going to go to deep space. But that should not be NASA. That should not be government. Commercial entities have full capability to do that today.

“The very first things on the surface of Mars are going to be robots. I imagine there’s going to be a fleet of robots. Maybe humanoid. They don’t have to look like humans. They’re going to establish the habitat. They’re going to go in because with 3-D printing, we can put a fleet of robots on the surface of Mars. We may find, based on what we know about the radiation environment, that we want to go underground. . . . It may be that robots go subterranean and establish the habitat.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

The way we live is dramatically changing. On May 18, Virgin Galactic's George Whitesides, Aerojet Rocketdyne's Julie Van Kleeck and author of "The Martian" Andy Weir joined NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to discuss how recent milestones in commercial space travel are opening up new frontiers for business and exploration. (Washington Post Live)


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