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NASA Extends Atlantis' Final Mission By One Day

The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday, July 8, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is the 135th and final space shuttle launch for NASA. Chris O'Meara/AP hide caption

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Chris O'Meara/AP

The space shuttle Atlantis will now make a "night landing" at Kennedy Space Center. NASA said that Atlantis will make its final descent on July 21 at 5:56 AM ET, a day later than originally scheduled.

Florida Today reports:

NASA mission managers hoped to conserve enough power-producing capability to extend Atlantis's planned eight-day stay at the station by 24 hours.

LeRoy Cain, deputy shuttle program manager and chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team, said the conservation efforts in early part of the mission — and a launch on the first attempt — have enabled NASA to save enough cryogenic reactants to generate electricity for the extra day at the outpost.

A big part of STS-135's mission was to deliver a huge load of supplies to the International Space Station. An extra day, reports Central Florida News 13, means that Atlantis' four-person crew can help the astronauts aboard the International Space Station unpack some of the supplies.