HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) - The astronaut husband of a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded when she was shot in head will decide by mid-February whether to join the last NASA shuttle launch as scheduled, the space agency said on Sunday.
Mark Kelly, the commander of April’s Endeavour mission, has been on leave to tend to his wife, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, since the Jan. 8 attack in Tucson which killed six and wounded 13.
“I believe Mark is planning to decide in the next few weeks whether he can resume training and of course he will be candid with the space shuttle crew,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said.
“It is an important thing to them as a family, but they have to balance their priorities,” Garver said during a visit to Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.
“So I think we’ll be having that decision in mid-February.”
Giffords was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas on Jan 21 after undergoing hospital treatment.
NASA has a backup crew member in training for Endeavour, currently scheduled to be the last shuttle flight. But NASA is hoping for funding to fly an additional shuttle to deliver a year’s worth of supplies to the International Space Station.
Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Matthew Jones