January 31, 2011

Kelly To Decide On Upcoming Space Flight

Mark Kelly, the commander of April's Space Shuttle Endeavour mission, has been on leave to tend to his wife, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, since the January 8 attack in Tucson which killed six and wounded 13. The astronaut husband of a US congresswoman seriously wounded when she was shot in head will decide by mid-February whether to join the last NASA shuttle launch as scheduled, the space agency told Reuters on Sunday.

"I believe Mark is planning to decide in the next few weeks whether he can resume training and of course he will be candid with the space shuttle crew," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. "It is an important thing to them as a family, but they have to balance their priorities," Garver said during a visit to Israel's Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies. "So I think we'll be having that decision in mid-February."

After undergoing hospital treatment and showing strong progress, Senator Giffords was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas on January 21. NASA has a backup crew member in training for Endeavour, currently scheduled to be the last shuttle flight. But NASA is hoping for funding to fly an additional shuttle to deliver a year's worth of supplies to the International Space Station.


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