by Dan Gibson
TUCSON — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office today released details about her attendance at the Monday launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which will be commanded by her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly.
Endeavor is scheduled to lift off from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A at 8:56 a.m. EDT Monday on a 16-day mission to the International Space Station.
Giffords’ transportation to Florida will be provided by NASA, which provides transportation to and from shuttle launches for all astronaut spouses. Shortly after the launch, Giffords will return to Houston to resume her rehabilitation.
Due to privacy concerns and in deference to the family wishes, no additional details regarding the congresswoman’s travel will be released.
Congresswoman Giffords, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, traveled to Florida late last month to attend the launch of Endeavour. But that mission was delayed because of technical problems.
The congresswoman attended Capt. Kelly’s most recent launch when he commanded the space shuttle Discovery in 2008. His upcoming mission is scheduled to be the last flight for Endeavour and the next-to-last space shuttle flight before the fleet is retired.
Capt. Kelly and other members of Endeavour’s crew are scheduled to arrive in Florida tomorrow.
Other information on the launch and Congresswoman Giffords’ attendance:
* The congresswoman will not meet with the media or issue a statement while she is in Florida.
* The congresswoman, like other spouses and family members, will watch the launch in private. There are no plans to release photos of the congresswoman watching the launch. It is possible that photos of the scene will be released, but that will not be known until the day of the launch.
* Any photos that are available as well as updates of the congresswoman’s trip will be posted on her Facebook page. Check her Twitter account for the latest news: www.facebook.com/GabrielleGiffords and www.twitter.com/Rep_Giffords.
* One hour after the launch, NASA will hold a news conference in the Kennedy Space Center News Center. Expected to participate are: Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations; Mike Moses, mission management team chair and space shuttle program launch integration manager; and Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director.
* After the conclusion of that news conference, members of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff will meet with the media in the same location to discuss the event and her reaction to her husband’s latest mission. Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff, is among those expected to participate.