Kelly Expects Wife To Be At His Shuttle Launch in April

Kelly Expects Wife To Be At His Shuttle Launch in April

Astronaut Mark Kelly responded to a reporter’s question today by enthusiastically saying that he expects his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), to be at Kennedy Space Center for the launch of STS-134 on April 19. Kelly is resuming his duties as commander of STS-134 while his wife recuperates from being shot in the head on January 8.

In explaining his decision to return to work, Kelly told reporters that Giffords is busy all day every day, seven days a week, with speech, occupational and physical therapy. He declined to provide any specifics about her current condition, but said she makes progress every day. He remarked on how fast she is recovering, and quoted one of her doctors as saying that she is in the one percentile group for recovering from this type of injury.

Kelly said that her family and his family are unanimously supportive of his decision. He also said that he knows his wife very well and she is strongly supportive not only of his career, but of NASA, and would want him to fly.

Peggy Whitson, chief of the astronaut office, and Brent Jett, chief of flight crew operations, emphasized that they have been observing Kelly for the past week while he resumed training to ensure that he is, in fact, ready to focus fully on a shuttle commander’s responsibilities. The decision to let him command the mission went all the way up to NASA Administrator Bolden, they said.

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