Space Shuttle Endeavour Commander, Mark Kelly, is hopeful that his wife, Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, critically wounded in a shooting last January, will attend his Florida space shuttle launch slated for next month. The commander of NASA’s next-to-last shuttle mission, Kelly took a leave of absence after his wife’s near fatal brush with death. After her transfer to a Houston rehabilitation center, he decided to return to work.
On January 8, Giffords was shot through the head as she met with constituents outside a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store. The progress she has made in her recovery is astounding and reveals without the slightest shadow of a doubt, the power and resiliency of the human spirit.
Kelly told reporters that she is beginning to walk and talk and process the terrible truth behind the tragedy that senselessly claimed the lives of six people, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and injured 12 others. Her outlook, according to Kelly, is upbeat and positive.
April 19 is the date set for the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, whose mission is to deliver the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector to the International Space Station, along with other spare parts. One more NASA mission on sistership, Atlantis, is planned for June. This will mark the end of the 30-year-old shuttle program.
Kelly visits his wife twice a day and knows that she wants very much to be able to attend this important event. Whether she will or not is contingent on approval from her doctors, but he is hoping for the best, as is everyone who stands in awe of this amazing woman and all of her accomplishments.