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CAPE CANAVERAL — The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will head to space in April, a stunning decision coming almost one month to the day that his wife was shot through the head.
The congresswoman not only survived, but by all accounts she is making good progress in rehab in Houston, where husband Mark Kelly will resume training Monday for shuttle Endeavour’s final voyage. One doctor has described her recovery as “lightning speed.”
NASA confirmed late Friday morning that Kelly will be aboard Endeavour as commander of the two-week mission. He is holding a news conference at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon.
Kelly, who’s been on leave since the shooting, said in a news release that he’s looking forward to rejoining his crew and finishing all the training. He noted that they have been preparing for the space station delivery mission for more than 18 months and will be ready to carry it out.
“I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s wife was gunned down outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket as she met with constituents on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 were injured in the rampage; a 22-year-old suspect is in custody.
The 40-year-old congresswoman was in intensive care for two weeks, with Kelly at her bedside, before she was transferred to Houston for what is expected to be a lengthy rehabilitation. Kelly wanted her as close to him as possible, if he returned to work at Johnson Space Center.