Giffords' Astronaut Husband Decides to Fly Shuttle

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Mark Kelly, the husband of wounded Rep Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., will be on board the final mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

NASA confirmed Friday that Kelly would be the commander of the two-week mission which is scheduled to lift off on April 19.

He temporarily left the mission after a gunman shot his wife last month as she met with constituents outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket. Commander Kelly will resume his training on Monday.

"We are glad to have Mark back," NASA's chief astronaut, Peggy Whitson, said in the news release. "He is a veteran shuttle commander and knows well the demands of the job. We are confident in his ability to successfully lead this mission."

"I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew," Kelly said.

Kelly, 46, trained for 18 months for the space trip, but has largely stayed by his wife's side since the shooting.

Giffords is recovering at a Houston rehabilitation center. She was gunned down outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket as she met with constituents on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 were injured in the rampage. A 22-year-old suspect is in custody.

Kelly - whose identical twin Scott currently is commander of the International Space Station - has flown three times aboard space shuttles. April's trip to the International Space Station will be his fourth. He will lead a veteran, all-male, American-Italian crew.

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