Looking to the future
It looks like Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Gifford's new same-city coupledom will be full of quality time, now that astronaut, Navy captain and shuttle commander Kelly has announced his retirement from NASA.
Kelly made the announcement on his Facebook page, which has become his favorite medium for sharing updates about his wife's progress since the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson forever altered their lives.
Aside from announcing his retirement in order to spend more time with his recovering wife, who was just recently released from TIRR Memorial Hermann as an outpatient, the note contains a vote of support for NASA's continued work:
I know that as our space program evolves, there are those who will question NASA's future. I am not among them. There isn’t a group more dedicated to its mission or more capable than the outstanding men and women of NASA. Exploration is a critical component of what makes our country great. We will continue to explore and NASA will continue to lead that effort."
Kelly's 15-year career at NASA included visits to the International Space Station four times aboard space shuttles Endeavour and Discovery. He recently served as commander of Endeavour on its final flight. His retirement takes place Oct. 1.
Giffords hopes to return eventually to Tucson, however, which she visited for the first time this weekend since being shot outside a supermarket there in January. Kelly called the visit to his wife's hometown "a milestone," and Giffords' staff reports that she has been repeating "I miss Tucson," to her caregivers since she arrived in Houston for rehabilitation.