Friday, February 04, 2011

Astronaut: Wounded Wife Would Support Decision To Fly

The astronaut husband of critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said his wife would approve of his decision to resume training for a mid-April shuttle mission.

Veteran shuttle pilot and mission commander Mark Kelly said his wife is “making progress every day” and is very busy from morning through evening with speech, occupational and physical therapy.

He declined to specify what she can do, what she cannot do, and whether she was able to weigh in on his decision. However, he has unanimous support from his family, Gifford’s family and his NASA managers.

“I know my wife very well, and I know what she would want. So that makes the decision easier,” Kelly said. “I feel very confident I made the right decision not only for me but for my crew members, my family and wife.”

Kelly rushed to Tucson Jan. 8 after Giffords, D-Ariz., 40, was shot through the head during an assassination attempt that left six dead and 13 wounded outside a grocery store. Her doctors say Gifford’s progress has been remarkable and that her recovery is coming along with “lightning speed.”

Kelly, 46, a U.S. Navy Captain, has been training for the final flight of shuttle Endeavour since August 2009. NASA last month assigned veteran astronaut Rick Sturckow to serve as a backup and train with the rest of the Endeavour crew during Kelly’s absence.

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