Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was nearly slain down in an attempted homicide attempt earlier this year, will attend the space shuttle launch of her astronaut husband Mark Kelly.
Kelly is the commander of the SMS-134 mission on the Endeavour space shuttle, which will be making its final trip into space. The Endeavour is the second to last shuttle for the space shuttle program, which began over 30 years ago. After various delays nearly totaling a month, the Endeavour launch is finally set to take place on Monday May 16.
Giffords office said she'd be attending the launch, even while she recovers from a horrific attempt at her life back in January. NASA will provide Giffords' transportation to Florida, where she will not meet with the media and will watch the launch in private.
After the launch, members of Giffords' staff will meet with the media in the Kennedy Space Center News Center to discuss the event and her reaction to her husband's latest mission.
Meanwhile, NASA has said all systems are go for the launch and there should not be any further additional delays. The weather for Monday calls for 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions a launch time. There may be storm disturbance around the time the rotating service structure is to be rolled back, scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday, but other than that, NASA looks good to go.
SMS-134 will cap a nice career for Endeavour. Since its first mission, Endeavour has traveled 116,372,930 miles, spent 283 days in space and has had a total of 4,423 orbits. Over the years, it has housed many of space related milestones.
It was the first to include four spacewalks, and then the first to include five. One of its first missions, STS-67, set a length record almost two full days longer than any shuttle mission before it. Its airlock is the only one to have seen three spacewalkers exit through it for a single spacewalk. And in its cargo bay is where the International Space Station first started to be constructed.
During the 14-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre. After it finishes up, NASA will conclude the space shuttle program with the Atlantis. Following that, the three remaining space shuttles and a fourth prototype will head to museums across the country.