Doctors have cleared Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) to attend Friday’s Space Shuttle Endeavour launch, according to Mark Kelly, Giffords’s husband.
"I've met with her doctors, her neurosurgeon," Kelly, an astronaut and captain in the Navy, told CBS's Katie Couric in an interview set to air Monday night. "And … they've given us permission to take her down to the launch. I'm excited about that, yes."
Kelly and others close to Giffords have been saying for weeks that the congresswoman would attend if her doctors gave her the green light. Kelly's is the first definitive announcement that Giffords will be there.
According to Kelly, Giffords, who is undergoing rehabilitation at a Houston facility, responded with excitement when told she had been cleared to travel to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
"She said, 'Awesome' and she pumped her fist," Kelly said.
Giffords was shot in the head at close range in January at a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz.; six people died and 12 others were injured in that attack. Since then, doctors have praised her recovery and repeatedly said she has made enormous progress.
In the CBS interview, Kelly cautioned that while Giffords's recovery is going well, communication skills for her are still "difficult.”
Besides Giffords, President Obama and the first family plan to be at the launch, which is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
In the 2011 list of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, Obama wrote the entry for Giffords. Obama said "she's got the prayers of a nation rooting for her, a model of civility and courage and unity — a needed voice that cannot return soon enough."