Astronaut Kelly Talks About Giffords and Mission

NASA STS-134 Official Mission Poster
STS 134 Mission poster, based on a Star Trek promotional poster.

This will be the fourth time Mark Kelly has gone into space. He’s been on three shuttle missions. The most recent was in 2008. But this one could be the most challenging. He has to focus on the mission while his wife is rehabbing from a gunshot wound to the head.

"I’ve given this mission everything I would’ve if the events of January 8th did not happen. So I’m very focused. We’re very prepared as a crew. We’ve got a little bit more training to go."

Kelly says his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is doing much better. She’s walking, talking more and she’s hoping to make the trip to Florida in April for Mark’s launch into space. The decision will be up to her doctors.

"She wants to attend she’s been looking forward to this for a long time. As one of NASA’s biggest supporters in Congress, she was really looking forward to having the opportunity to be there and I think there’s a really good chance that’s going to happen."

One of the highlights of the mission will be when astronaut Mike Fink breaks the American record for the most days spent in space.
 
But the trip is also bittersweet because it’s the second to last mission for the shuttle program. Soon many people will be out of work. People who’ve worked on the shuttle program for more than a decade.

"The work force here is an incredibly talented group of people. And I’m sure the folks that decide to maybe go in another direction are going to do some great things."

Endeavor’s launch date is set for Tuesday April 19th.
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