Rep. Giffords husband to return to space: report

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, February 4, 2011 10:27 EDT
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WASHINGTON – The astronaut husband of wounded US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords plans to be at the helm of the Space Shuttle Endeavour when it makes its final launch in April, Politico.com reported Friday.

Astronaut Mark Kelly was due to make his announcement at a NASA press conference in Houston, Texas later in the day.

Politico gave no details on Kelly’s difficult decision, citing only a source familiar with it.

Kelly, 46, has been at his wife’s side since she was shot through the head on January 8 in Tucson, Arizona. He has been on leave since the shooting rampage that killed six people, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.

Giffords is improving every day as she undergoes intensive rehabilitation therapy at a Houston hospital, Kelly said Thursday when he spoke at a national prayer breakfast in Washington.

“Every day, she gets a little bit better and the neurosurgeons and neurologists tell me that’s a great sign, the slope of that curve is very important,” Kelly said.

NASA had named a backup commander to train with the other five crew members, including Italian Roberto Vittori, an astronaut with the European Space Agency.

The 14-day mission, set to launch April 19 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, would mark Kelly’s fourth and Endeavour’s last.

Kelly’s twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut and is currently commanding the International Space Station.

Endeavour’s crew will deliver to the space station a state-of-the-art cosmic ray particle physics detector “designed to examine fundamental issues about matter and the origin and structure of the universe,” according to NASA’s website.

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  • PrissyPatriot®

    Obviously it was his decision alone, since Gabby may be getting better-but no one is mentioning if she can speak, let alone give input on such a major decision.
    Go ahead and unleash on me if you must, but his is the type of ‘loyalty’ I could do without. It’s not like it is his first time in space, with plenty of others ready to jump in his place. He’s fortunate his wife got a second chance, when so many others did not.

  • Taleisin

    She must be pretty cool to have caught herself an astronaut. Good on her. :)
    I am sure she is very proud of her husband.
    And if he goes on this flight, I am sure he will take a little piece, of all of us, with him.

  • Anonymous

    Sitting in judgment is easy for you. You actually have no idea what went into this family’s decision making process. Your time would be well spent simply sending them good thoughts or prayers. Millions of prayers is the reason for her miraculous survival and recovery not pettiness and fault finding. Feel the LOVE.

  • Anonymous

    There’s not way to know, is there? I was shocked when his statement to the press just days after the shooting & before she could speak was that she was “giving him a backrub” because he was stressed about her condition. We just don’t know their relationship. I will say that in “the old days” if someone in the astronaut corps had anything external that might distract them even for a moment they were off the roster. The fact that he has missed so much prep and yet is being kept on reflects more on how pathetic NASA has become for patriotic press for what will be second to the last shuttle flight ever in June and the practical end to the astronaut corps and the government’s ability to put people in space. The Cold War is over; NASA has served it’s purpose. I grieve for Science.

  • PrissyPatriot®

    No I don’t. But I can tell you I know where my place would be. And I wouldn’t want to be on a ship with someone who has that situation on their mind.

  • Anonymous

    . .

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I see, your original “concern” was for his poor wife. And your judgment was based on information you don’t have access to. But now, thanks to someone else’s post you have justified your finger pointing, based on an entirely different situation, which again you have not been made privy to what kind of psychological testing and screening will take place prior to his actually going on this mission. “When you assume, it makes an ass of . . .(ass u me)
    If the next poster worries that his behavior will cause a slump in Tang stocks . . .
    you may redirect your judgment towards his shameful disregard for Tang stock holders!
    I am sure there are thousands of ways you could justify making assumptions in order to finger point and ridicule. Enjoy Yourself . . .

  • http://beyondpoliticsand911.com DoYouEverWonder

    They only been married a few years and I don’t think they even live in the same state. She a Rep from AZ but he took her back to Houston to be near where he lives. Yes, I know couples can maintain separate residences because of their jobs, but it seems odd for a couple who are the ‘family values’ type.

  • http://beyondpoliticsand911.com DoYouEverWonder

    You really want stressed out astronauts going up in the Shuttle? What about the other crew members? In the old days, NASA would have never allowed him to fly under the circumstances. Besides, what if something happens to her while he’s up there? I don’t think I’d want my kids to have to go through any more trauma without me there.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6EX2KJ7LSZMDCBZWCH62Q7CABY Sandra

    Actually, the trauma he has undergone would exempt him from all missions. This is a severe risk to other crew members. At a time when he is much needed by his family, he’ll be gone. I have to wonder if he’s doing it to pay the enormous medical expenses the shooting must have incurred.