NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, commander of the STS-134 space shuttle mission, made a statement aboard the International Space Station about the future of space exploration.

NASA is leading the way and will continue to do so. We are the lead partner on the International Space Station and when humans go back to the moon and on to Mars, I'm sure it's going to be the United States and NASA that's leading that as well, said Kelly.

As we move into more commercialization of the launch vehicles and getting access to orbit, that's still NASA that's leading that project and hopefully buying those services and this is something I think that in the long run could mean the expansion of humans accessing space. So we're pretty excited about the future for NASA, Kelly added.

In addition, as he spoke from space Kelly showed off his wedding ring, which he wears around his neck, about the 'long road' the couple have travelled since Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot through the head. U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, is recovering from a January gunshot wound to the head.

Kelly, who orbits 200 miles above Earth, told of how Giffords has been on his mind as she recovered from surgery in Houston to extract a small amount of necrotic tissue and part of her skull, which was removed by doctors to avoid further damage to the brain from pressure caused by swelling.

On April 25, her doctors gave her medical clearance to travel to Florida for the Endeavour launch, originally scheduled for April 29, and she went to Florida. The launch of STS-134 was delayed due to mechanical problems, and Giffords returned to Houston after meeting with President Barack Obama, who had also planned to see the launch with his family, at Kennedy Space Center.

After continuing her rehabilitation therapy in Houston, Giffords, along with her teenage daughters Claudia and Claire, was back in Kennedy Space Center for her husband's launch on May 16.

Here is the video of Mark Kelly making his statement in an interview with National Public Radio’s Scott Simon.