The first two smiling photographs of Representative Gabrielle Giffords have been released on Sunday, almost six months after a bullet struck her in the head in Tucson in January.

The new photos of the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona have been published on her Facebook page. The photos were taken on May 17, 2011, a day after she watches her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly; take off on the Space Shuttle Endeavor, according to media reports.

Next day on May 18, she underwent a surgery to replace a piece of her skull.

It's nearly five months since she has been undergoing rehabilitation at the IRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The mass shooting that took place at a community event on January 8, killed 6 people and injured 13.

The photos with short hair showed how far she has come since she was shot in the left side of her forehead. However, according to her spokeswoman, Pia Carusone, Giffords still has to go a long way.

Carusone said Giffords can communicate by combining words, facial expressions and gesturing to express herself, but she cannot articulate complex thoughts.