Giffords heads to Florida for shuttle launch

HOUSTON Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:09pm EDT

1 of 2. Space shuttle Endeavour sits atop launch pad 39A after arriving from the Vehicle Assembly Building to prepare for Mission STS-134 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Florida March 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was headed by plane from Houston to Florida on Wednesday morning in advance of astronaut husband Mark Kelly's space shuttle launch on Friday, according to her office.

"Gabby is looking forward to some time away from the rehab center & the chance to see @ShuttleCDRKelly launch again," said a post this morning on her Twitter account.

The outing to watch Kelly, commander of NASA's next-to-last shuttle mission, take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, marks the first extended trip the Arizona Democrat has made from a hospital environment since she was gunned during a meeting with constituents at a Tucson, Arizona supermarket on January 8.

Six people were killed and 13 others were wounded, Giffords among them, when a gunman opened fire on the congresswoman and bystanders. Jared Loughner, 22, a college dropout with a history of erratic behavior, is charged with the shooting.

(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune)

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