Astronaut Mark Kelly Awaits Docs’ OK for Wife to See Shuttle Launch
Astronaut Mark Kelly says he’s still waiting for his wife’s doctors to decide if she’s well enough to travel to Florida to watch his launch in the Space Shuttle Endeavour three weeks from now.
Kelly’s wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head 2½ months ago in Tucson, Ariz. She’s now at the Memorial-Hermann Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston, where she is reportedly making a dramatic recovery.
Kelly says he’s still working out all the plans with NASA, in case his wife attends his launch. He’s also still debating what to do about the traditional prelaunch party for his guests.
Each shuttle crew member arranges a party for family and friends who descend on Cape Canaveral for the launch. The astronauts themselves are in quarantine and cannot attend; so their spouses stand in as hosts.
This will be the shuttle Endeavour’s final flight and the next-to-last shuttle mission. It will deliver a $2 billion physics experiment to the International Space Station.
NASA, meanwhile, is studying the minor damage done to Kelly’s shuttle on the launch pad by the severe thunderstorms that swept through Kennedy Space Center Wednesday evening. There were reports of hail and a funnel cloud, and wind gusts reached 90 mph.