NASA astronaut Mark Kelly will resume training for a space mission a month after his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was critically injured by an attempted assassin.

Kelly, who was is the commander of the STS-134 space shuttle mission, contemplated taking a permanent leave after his wife was shot in Tuscon, Ariz. on Jan. 8. Giffords was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner. She is beginning rehabilitation in the wake of her injuries.

I am looking forward to rejoining my STS-134 crew members and finishing our training for the mission. We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station and complete the other objectives of the flight. I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew, Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly is considered a veteran aviator for NASA. He received commission from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in June 1986, and was designated a Naval Aviator in December 1987. As an experienced Naval aviator, Kelly logged 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft and has over 375 carrier landings.

He joined NASA in April of 1996 and has already served in three space flights, logging a total of 38 days in space.               

We are glad to have Mark back, Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. He is a veteran shuttle commander and knows well the demands of the job. We are confident in his ability to successfully lead this mission, and I know I speak for all of NASA in saying 'welcome back.'

 

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