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Gabrielle Giffords may wave Endeavour off

'Good chance' she'll see launch, says husband Mark Kelly

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NASA astronaut Mark Kelly is optimistic that his wife Gabrielle Giffords will be at Kennedy Space Center on 19 April to see him blast off aboard space shuttle Endeavour.

Arizona congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson in January in an attack which claimed six lives. Kelly described his wife's condition as "improving every day, and in the realm of brain injuries that is very significant, pretty rare".

Noting that the final decision on whether she can travel to Florida is a matter for doctors to decide, Kelly said: "I'd like her to attend the launch. She wants to attend, she's been looking forward to this for a long time. She's one of NASA's biggest supporters in Congress. She was really looking forward to having the opportunity to be there and I think there's a pretty good chance that's going to happen."

The astronaut will command the STS-134 mission to the International Space Station, which is tasked with delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the orbiting outpost.

The Endeavour crew. Pic: NASA

Kelly, pictured above at bottom centre, will be joined by (back row, left to right) pilot Gregory H Johnson; mission specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff and Andrew Feustel; and the European Space Agency's Roberto Vittori. ®

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