Gifford's Husband Kelly Will Command Shuttle

Astronaut Mark Kelly says he has decided to return to work at NASA and will command a shuttle mission in April. Kelly is married to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He says she's making good progress at Memorial Hermann's Institute of Rehabilitation and Research. From the KUHF health science and technology desk, Carrie Feibel has more.
Giffords was shot January 8 in Tuscon. Kelly says that while his wife was in intensive care, he assumed he would have to give up the command of Space Shuttle Endeavor. But he says Giffords has made steady progress in therapy, far exceeding her doctors’ expectations.

Mark Kelly“Things fell into place and she improved very fast so the decision became easier over time.”

Kelly says one key factor is Giffords’ rigorous therapy schedule. She’s busy all day doing physical, occupational and speech therapy.

“And she’s in a very controlled, she has great doctors, great environment and she’s doing very very well.”

Kelly refused to say how involved Giffords was in the decision.

“I know her very well, and she would be very comfortable with the decision that I made.”

Reporters asked Kelly repeatedly if Giffords can talk, but he says he’s not going to provide details about her abilities.

“I’ve intentionally through this whole process try not to go down the path of what she can do today and what she can do tomorrow, and what she can say, and how does she do this and that, because then I wind up in this situation where I feel like I continuously have to give updates that people will speculate on.”

Kelly did say that doctors told him she is doing better than 99 percent of patients with the same type of injury. He says he plans for his wife to attend the shuttle launch on April 19.

“She is a big supporter of my career, a big supporter of NASA. She really values the mission of NASA, what we do and what our nation gets from that is very, very high on her list of things she really treasures about this country.”

Kelly will resume full time training with his crew on Monday at Johnson Space Center.
Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...