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Husband says Giffords would embrace decision to fly space shuttle 'Endeavour'

Mark Kelly says he believes that his wife will be at the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour in April.

Associated Press

Mark Kelly says he believes that his wife will be at the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour in April.

The astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Friday his wounded wife would embrace his decision to rocket into space in April, and he expects her to be well enough to be at his launch.

Space shuttle commander Mark Kelly refused to say whether Giffords took part in his decision and declined to go into details about her condition or whether she can communicate.

"I know her very well and she would be very comfortable with the decision that I made," Kelly told reporters in Houston.

His decision comes just four weeks after Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket. His choice to lead the final voyage of space shuttle Endeavour was made easier, he said, by his wife's rapid progress in rehab.

Kelly, 46, said he never imagined in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that he would ever fly the two-week mission. He immediately quit training after the shooting.

Within two weeks, Giffords was transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, and that's when he started reconsidering. He weighed how much time he could spend with her, and how much he needed to be with his crew at Johnson Space Center on the outskirts of Houston.

Kelly said their parents, siblings and his teenage daughters were "completely unanimous."

Kelly said any critics of his decision don't know his wife. "She is a big supporter of my career, a big supporter of NASA," he said.

Kelly said that a doctor told him Giffords is doing better than 99 percent of other people with this type of injury but that he's not providing any updates on her condition to avoid speculation by strangers.

"It's not something I feel comfortable talking about," he said.

Asked if Giffords might be well enough to attend his launch, scheduled for April 19, Kelly replied: "Absolutely. I have every intention that she'll be there for the launch. I've already talked to her doctors about it."

Husband says Giffords would embrace decision to fly space shuttle 'Endeavour' 02/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 8:27pm]
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