NASA pushes back final Space Shuttle launches

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NASA's Space Shuttle programme will extend into 2011, the US space agency says.

After several weeks of hinting there might be changes to the schedule, official word came that the penultimate flight originally scheduled for September has been moved to 1 November.

With Discovery taking over what was to be the last launch date, the final mission was moved to the next available slot. Endeavour's instrumentation delivery to the International Space Station is now scheduled for 26 February 2011.

More time is needed to prepare Discovery's payload for delivery to the space station, NASA said.

As for the possibility of an extra Shuttle mission, NASA says no decision on adding a mission for Atlantis to round out the final schedule is expected before August.

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