Giffords' office releases plans for shuttle launch visit

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2011 4:21 PM
Giffords' office releases plans for shuttle launch visit

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' staff released plans on Friday for her visit to Florida to watch the launch of the space shuttle mission skippered by her husband Mark Kelly later this month.

Giffords' staff said doctors at the Houston, Texas, hospital where she is recovering from being shot in January will make a final decision on whether she will be able to attend the April 29 blast off of the shuttle Endeavour.

"Doctors overseeing the congresswoman's recovery at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston will have the final word on whether Giffords will be able to attend the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida," her communications director CJ Karamargin said in a statement.

"Our office is making plans for her to attend, pending medical approval."

Karamargin said no dates for Giffords' travel had been set and added that she would not meet with the media or issue a statement while she is in Florida.

Giffords was shot through the head at close range on January 8 when a gunman opened fire on a Congressional outreach event she was holding outside a Tucson supermarket, killing six people and injuring 12 others.

She has been receiving intensive rehabilitation therapy at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital since late January, and doctors said last month she was regaining movement and needing less assistance.

Giffords attended Kelly's last launch, a mission in the shuttle Discovery in 2008.

The upcoming mission is the last scheduled flight for the Endeavour and the next-to-last space shuttle flight before the fleet is retired, her office said.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Chris Michaud)