The trip dilemma has been hanging in the air since Captain Mark Kelly’s wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) was shot in the head last month. Kelly had to decide whether to stay with his recuperating wife or be the commander of Endeavour’s last flight into space in this spring.
“Things fell into place and she improved very fast, so the decision became easier over time,” Kelly said today. “I know my wife very well and I know what she would want, so that makes the decision easier.”
Kelly talked about his decision to command Endeavour’s final space journey during a news conference at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas: “I am looking forward to rejoining my STS-134 crew members and finishing our training for the mission,” Kelly said. “We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station and complete the other objectives of the flight. I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew.”
Kelly has been on personal leave since January 8, when Giffords was wounded outside a Tucson supermarket. The gunman shot 18 others, 6 of them died in the attack. Kelly is scheduled to resume his training for the April 19 mission on Monday, February 7.
More on Kelly’s decision and that upcoming shuttle flight on the NASA website.