Together At Last
Touchdown: Mark Kelly & Gabrielle Giffords to reunite in Houston and become asame-city couple
Astronaut Mark Kelly and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords spoke every night on the phone during the 16-day Space Shuttle Endeavour mission that ended on Wednesday. The courageous couple will be reunited in Houston on Thursday evening.
Before the May 16 space shuttle launch, the duo shared a heartfelt goodbye, including a swim in the Atlantic beside the NASA beach house. In space, Kelly and his five-man crew awoke to Giffords' chosen wake-up song, U2's "Beautiful Day." A symbol of the couple's enduring love, Kelly wore her wedding ring on a chain around his neck during the shuttle flight while Giffords wore Kelly's wedding ring in Houston.
Kelly's eagerness to revisit his wife was evident at a Wednesday post-flight press conference at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., reports USA Today. During that meeting, the astronaut announced, "I really miss her and can't wait to get back there tomorrow to see her." He also revealed that he had just emailed Gifford's mother, requesting to be informed when Gabrielle would be available to talk on the phone.
While Kelly was orbiting the planet, the Arizona congresswoman was at Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann undergoing cranioplasty surgery to repair the part of her skulls that physicians had withdrawn five months ago to allow room for the swelling of her maimed brain. Doctors report that the surgery was successful, but the risk of infection precluded Giffords from traveling to Florida for touchdown.
Throughout the course of their time dating and being married, the couple has diligently navigated the long distance between their fast-paced careers. But with Giffords in recovery, Kelly's mission to the International Space Station complete and the sunset looming on the NASA space shuttle program, a prolonged reunion is in sight.