March 25, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords May Attend Husbands’ Launch Next Month

NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said on Thursday that his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, may attend his space shuttle launch in Florida next month.

The Arizona Congresswoman was shot through the head in Tucson, Arizona on January 8.  There were six people killed and 12 others injured during the attack.

"She's improving every day, and in the realm of brain injuries that is very significant, pretty rare. She's starting to walk, talk more every day and she's starting to process some of the tragedy that we all went through in January, she's going through that as we speak," Kelly told reporters.

"Despite that she remains in a very good mood," he added.

Kelly took a leave of absence after the shooting but decided to return to work last month after his wife was transferred to a Houston rehabilitation center.

"I see her every morning before I go in to work and when I come home from work at the end of my day," said Kelly.

Space shuttle Endeavour will launch on April 19 and will be delivering the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector to the International Space Station (ISS).  NASA plans to fly one last mission on space shuttle Atlantis in June before ending the 30-year-old shuttle program.

"I'd like her to attend the launch. She wants to attend, she's been looking forward to this for a long time," Kelly said.

"She's one of NASA's biggest supporters in Congress. She was really looking forward to having the opportunity to be there and I think there's a pretty good chance that's going to happen," he said.

"We still don't know for sure. I'm just awaiting final approval from her doctors," he added.

Kelly and his crewmates are scheduled to spend 10 days at the station to help get it ready for operations after the shuttle program ends.


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