Less than two weeks after being shot through the head, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) left a Tucson, Ariz., hospital Jan. 21 to continue her recovery at a rehabilitation center in Houston.
Giffords’ husband — NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who is slated to command the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final mission in April — has been on leave from his job at Johnson Space Center in Houston since Jan. 8, when a gunman shot Giffords and 18 others outside a Tucson supermarket. A 22-year-old Arizona resident, Jared Lee Loughner, is charged with the shooting, which killed six.
Kelly said Jan. 21 at a news conference in Tucson that moving Giffords to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at Memorial Hermann Hospital — a world-class brain-injury recovery facility — “makes [the] most sense” since it will allow him “to at some point consider the possibility of returning to work.”
NASA on Jan. 13 named a backup commander — astronaut Rick Sturckow — to lead Endeavour’s flight should Kelly be unable to fly on the mission. Kelly has said he is hopeful he will be able to rejoin his crew and finish training for the spaceflight.