"NASA is considering a plan to keep the space shuttle Endeavour in flight-like condition after its last scheduled mission, a move that could lead to its transformation into a privatized spaceship rather than a museum piece."
Keith's note: The author has jumped the gun on this and provides a false impression with regard to levela nd nature of any internal sentiment about not rushing to retire the shuttle fleet. This is only a study - if it is done. As such there is no "plan" to "consider". NASA is not "considering" or "weighing" anything other than whether or not they want to pay someone to do a study that challenges a decision the agency has already committed to. NASA is planning to retire the shuttle and has always preserved an option to keep one or more shuttles in good (flight) shape for tests, documentation, etc. before handing them off to museums. If the study is done it will almost certainly use several earlier NASA shuttle commercialization studies from the 80's and 90's that looked at similar things.
Indeed, if the study is done, it will likely be delivered after the last shuttle flight when the retirement process has formally begun. The parts and contracts needed to fly the shuttle are already going away and cannot be kept in place forever. To do so costs more money and this core of this notion is reducing costs. The only possible logic to such a proposal would be if the shuttle sidemount HLV was approved. Alas, NASA made certain to surgically scrub any mention of it from what it has presented to the White House and Congress.