Gabrielle Giffords plans to attend husband's shuttle launch

TUCSON, Arizona Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:15pm EST

Space shuttle Endeavour is prepared to be moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39A to prepare for Mission STS-134 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Florida March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Space shuttle Endeavour is prepared to be moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39A to prepare for Mission STS-134 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Florida March 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, recovering from being shot at a community event in January, plans to attend the launch of her astronaut husband's space shuttle mission next month, an aide said on Thursday.

"The plan is for her to attend," said C.J. Karamargin, the Arizona Democrat's spokesman, adding that changes in her medical condition and other factors ultimately will determine whether Giffords is present.

"That it is a goal that we are working toward, and we certainly hope that she'll be there."

Her husband, Mark Kelly, a three-time space shuttle veteran, is commander of the Endeavour mission due for lift-off from Cape Canaveral, on April 19 on what is currently scheduled to be NASA's final shuttle flight.

Doctors are expected to give an update on Gifford's condition at a Houston news conference on Friday. She is undergoing rehabilitation at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center there.

Giffords has not been seen in public since she was shot in the head January 8 when a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of people gathered for a "Congress on Your Corner" event outside a grocery store. Six people were killed and 13 others, Giffords among them, were wounded in the shooting spree.

The accused assailant, Jared Loughner, a 22-year-old college dropout, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to 49 charges stemming from the rampage.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Writing by David Schwartz; Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton)

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