Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and countless others at the last ever launch of the Endeavour space shuttle.
The launch will take place this Friday and Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, will command the 25th and final mission of the well travelled spacecraft. In January of this year, a would-be assassin, Jared Lee Loughner, made an attempt on Giffords' life in a shooting spree at an Arizona mall killed six people and injured 13 others.
She has made remarkable progress in her rehabilitation, and we saw no reason why she could not travel safely to Florida, said Dr. Gerard Francisco, chief medical officer of the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, said in a statement.
Immediately following the launch, Francisco said she will fly back to Houston and continue rehabilitation. Kelly said Gifford's reaction upon learning she could see her husband fly into space was the word awesome, followed by a fist pump. Giffords attended Kelly's last launch in 2008 when was commanding the Discovery.
The launch will take place at 3:47 pm Eastern on Friday. Also attending will be President Obama and the first family.
The 14-day mission will see the crew of the Endeavour deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, additional spare parts for Dextre to the International Space Station. Joining Kelly on the mission is Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.