Gabrielle Giffords: First Photos Posted on Facebook

VIDEO: Young woman receives scholarship named for Tucson, Ariz., shooting
WATCH Christina Taylor Green Scholarship Awarded

The first pictures of a smiling Rep. Gabrielle Giffords were released today, nearly six months after she was shot in the head at a community event in Tucson in January.

The Democratic congresswoman from Arizona has been undergoing rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston following a shooting at a Jan. 8 meet-and-greet event that left six people dead and 13 people injured, including Giffords.

The new photos were posted on her Facebook page. The pictures were taken on May 17, 2011, a day after she watched her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, take off on the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

On May 18, she underwent surgery to replace a piece of her skull.

The injury Giffords received when she was shot in the head led to brain swelling, which required the removal of a portion of her skull to relieve pressure.

Giffords has improved enough that she is expected to be able to leave TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital and continue therapy on an outpatient basis in the next few weeks, sources told ABC News on Saturday.

"We're looking at before the end of the month. We're looking at early July," Giffords spokeswoman Pia Carusone told The Associated Press. "We don't have a date."

The photos released today is the public's first look at Giffords since April 27 when she was seen boarding a plane to Florida.

Jared Loughner is accused of opening fire at Giffords' Jan. 8 meet-and-greet event.

A federal judge ruled Loughner mentally incompetant to stand trial for the mass shooting.

ABC News' Gina Sunseri and The Associated Press contributed to this report.