Giffords to go to shuttle launch

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ doctors said yesterday that she is medically able to travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to attend her astronaut husband’s space shuttle launch on Friday.

“She has made remarkable progress in her rehabilitation, and we saw no reason why she could not travel safely to Florida,” Dr. Gerard Francisco, chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann, the hospital in Houston where Giffords has been undergoing rehabilitation, said in a statement.

Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, the commander of NASA’s next-to-last scheduled shuttle mission, told CBS’ Katie Couric that when Giffords learned she’d been given the green light to attend the launch, “I think she said ‘awesome,’ and she pumped her fist,” according to excerpts released by CBS Evening News of an interview scheduled to be broadcast yesterday.

President Barack Obama is also expected to attend the shuttle launch.

The event would mark the first extended outing that Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, has made from a hospital environment since she was gunned down as she met with a group of constituents outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket on Jan. 8.

Six people were killed and 13 others wounded, Giffords among them, when a gunman opened fire. Jared Loughner, 22, a college dropout with a history of erratic behavior, is charged with the shooting.


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