Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been given the go ahead by her doctors to go to Florida, where her husband Mark Kelly will command the last mission of the space shuttle Endeavour, which is scheduled to launch later this week, ABC News has learned.
Giffords has been recovering at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, undergoing rehabilitation for a gunshot wound to her head after a gunman opened fire outside a Tucson grocery store in January, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Giffords.
Doctors said the congresswoman can stand on her own and is trying to improve her walking, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
"Her left side is perfect. She can do whatever you can do," said Pia Carusone, her chief of staff.
According to Carusone, Giffords' hair is short, a thin scar on her forehead is healing and fading, and her face is swollen but otherwise the same as before.
Kelly has suggested in the past he might not command the last flight of Endeavour, but with his wife's improving condition and her encouragement, he said, he decided to resume command not just for his sake, but because the space program was important to her.
"As one of NASA's biggest supporters in Congress, she was looking forward to having the opportunity to be there, and I think there is a pretty good chance to have that," he said in March.
She is getting that chance, and now her staff, doctors, and space agency officials are planning Giffords' transportation and medical care to watch the launch.
Giffords will have company with her, including her family, her husband's family, her staff and President Obama, with his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha. Her staff has warned this will not be a public appearance for Giffords though they have suggested they may release a photo post launch.
Kelly's mission, STS 134, is the second to last space shuttle flight for NASA, and will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station. AMS will detect particles to prove, or disprove the Big Bang Theory of the formation of our universe.
Kelly and five other astronauts on this mission are in quarantine now, standard practice before any space shuttle launch to keep the crew healthy for their mission.
Giffords will be in her husband's thoughts during this mission -- he is carrying up mementoes for her and is surrounded by fellow astronauts who are wearing blue Gabby bracelets.
Astronaut Mike Fincke says he wishes he could do more.
"I am not a neurosurgeon, I can't do the stuff she needs, so the best I can do is send her my love and support, and this is what this symbolizes, we are sending our love and support to Gabby, Gabby, hope you get better soon, we are thinking about you, and praying for you, and that is all it is, it is the NASA family, we are there for each other and this just says, I am there, I am there for you Gabby."