U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has worked hard in her rehabilitation to ensure she could see her husband command the final launch of space shuttle Endeavour, he said at Florida‚Äôs Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.
Astronaut Mark Kelly and Endeavour‚Äôs five other crew members arrived at the center‚Äôs shuttle landing facility on Wednesday afternoon in T-38 training jets, two days ahead of the shuttle's launch. Giffords, his wife, has been recovering from a January gunshot to the brain but was cleared by doctors to attend Friday's liftoff.
Flanked by his crew upon arrival Wednesday, Kelly said he was looking forward to Giffords "getting here pretty soon."
"It's something she's been looking forward to for a long time," Kelly said. "She's been working really hard to make sure that her doctors would permit her to come, and she's more than medically ready to be here, and she's excited about making this trip."
The idea that "home of manned spaceflight" won't be home to one of NASA's retired shuttles isn't sitting so well with some.
The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was considered a strong contender to receive one of four retired space shuttles.
Instead, the honors have gone to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida (Atlantis); the California Science Center in Los Angeles (Endeavour); the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia (Discovery); and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York (Enterpise), NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said Tuesday.
Many in Space City are none too pleased by the snub, considering the role it has played in the development of the nation's space program.
Columnists and blogs, including Jalopnik, are weighing in on "Why Houston Deserved a Damn Space Shuttle," and the news has prompted the Twittersphere to make #JSC, #Houston and #spaceshuttle trending topics in the hours since NASA made the announcement.
"Sad day in Houston," CopyDRcom tweeted, summing up the prevailing sentiments of disappointment over the decision, particularly¬†among many who claim some connection to Johnson Space Center.
"As a former JSC co-op student/employee, I must say, in my most composed manner possible, WHAT THE HELL, NASA HQ? >:/"¬†former JSC employee juliamontgomery said.
"Personally I am disappointed Houston/ JSC didn't get a Shuttle & from a space history standpoint deserved one. But again not surprised,"¬†ISS flight controller greg_forest said.
"Before astronauts ever boarded a space shuttle, they trained in Houston. When they orbited Earth, they phoned home to Houston," Lisa_llbc86 tweeted.¬†"I have pickup truck. I'll sneak Endeavour back to #JSC. That's how we do it in TX"
Others, however, ¬†felt the appropriate locations were selected.
"While I'm sad JSC isn't getting a orbiter, lot more people will see them in their chosen destinations :/,"¬†self-proclaimed "space nut" @ericmblog tweeted.
"#Shuttle destinations seem very reasonable. Glad #OV104 will be staying at home. ūüėČ Shame for #Adler, #JSC, but no perfect solution," astrodad said.
NASA's space shuttles are bound for New York, Los Angeles, the Washington area and Cape Canaveral, Florida, in retirement, the space agency announced Tuesday.
More than 20 locations around the country had vied to call the retiring orbiters their home.
Space shuttle Discovery will go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in¬†Chantilly, Virginia, outside Washington. Discovery's last mission ended March 9. The shuttle is undergoing a decommissioning process in which all toxic materials are removed and the orbiter is prepared for display.
Currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center is the Enterprise, the prototype shuttle built but never flown in space. Enterprise was used to fly approach and landing tests and also for vibration tests on the ground. It will eventually go to the Intrepid Sea, Air¬†& Space Museum in New York.
These videos are sure to put you in a spacey mood. Today's Gotta Watch recognizes the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. Be it jamming out with a rock legend from above the atmosphere or watching 133 shuttle launches in 133 seconds, these videos should feed your need speed and expand your knowledge of the cosmos.
Man's first space flight – It was an amazing feat, and in the battle that was the space race, the former Soviet Union landed a powerful punch when it successfully launched the first manned space flight. Watch cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin make the first-ever orbit of Earth and ignite the race to the first moon landing.
Shuttle retirement home - NASA will announce where space shuttles Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis will spend their retirement years - which could mean millions in tourism revenue. Among the places in the running are Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, New York, Houston, Chicago, Seattle and Dayton, Ohio. Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle launch.
Spaceflight anniversary - Speaking of spaceflight anniversaries, Tuesday marks 50 years since the first time a human entered space. On this date in 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a nearly two-hour ride into space and back aboard the Vostok 1 rocket before he and his capsule parachuted safely back to Earth.
Civil War anniversary - And, lest we forget, Tuesday also marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, which began with Confederate forces' pre-dawn shelling of the Union garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Over the next four years, 600,000 Americans would die and thousands of slaves would go free. But some of the wounds have never healed, as a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
Conflict in Libya - The civil war in Libya rages on after rebels seeking to oust leader Moammar Gadhafi rejected an African Union cease-fire proposal. The back-and-forth conflict could lead the country into violent anarchy like Somalia's, Gadhafi's former foreign minister warned in a BBC interview Monday.
Federal budget - In Washington, lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the budget deal reached last weekend. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and members of Congress are working on plans for next year's budget, hammering out goals for taxation and spending.
Barry Bonds trial - The jury in former baseball star Barry Bonds' perjury trial enters its third day of deliberations Tuesday. Bonds is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 about knowingly taking anabolic steroids and getting injections from anyone but his doctors.
Elizabeth Taylor tributes - Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, is remembered not only for her beauty and her acting career, but also for her early AIDS activism and her sometimes overlooked time as a glamorous political wife in Washington. Recently retired CNN interviewer Larry King called his friend Taylor "a helluva woman."
Obama returns home to criticism over Libya - President Barack Obama is back in the White House after his five-day trip to Latin America. Waiting for him on his return was a letter from House Speaker John Boehner that criticizes the administration's handling of the situation in Libya. "Military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner wrote. Other conservatives also criticized the conduct of the attacks, as did liberals in Congress: "We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace," a group of them said.
Japan disaster - The level of radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water has dropped significantly, the city says, and Japan's top OB/GYN group says it's OK for pregnant and nursing women¬†to drink it. However, Russia, Hong Kong, the United States and others are restricting Japanese food imports. Meanwhile, damage-control work has resumed¬†at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where black smoke had forced workers out on Wednesday.
Conrad Murray prosecution - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of giving the late pop singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of anesthesia. Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles County Superior Court.¬†They will be given extended questionnaires about their knowledge of the case and other issues. The trial is slated to begin May 9.
Space shuttle Endeavour - The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday in Houston ahead of next month's final mission for the spacecraft. Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will command the mission, set for launch April 19¬†from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the international space station and the final mission for Endeavour, as the shuttle program ends this year.
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.
Today's programming highlights...
8:30 am ET - Libya debate at House of Commons - British Foreign Secretary William Hague will discuss the Libya conflict when he addresses the House of Commons in London.
ÔĽŅU.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords plans to attend the launch of the space shuttle endeavor on April 19, almost three months after she was shot in the head outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said.
Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, is the shuttle mission's commander.
After 39 flights and more than 148 million miles in orbit, space shuttle Discovery is expected to call it a career today.¬† Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of Discovery's final landing.
Today's programming highlights...
10:30 am ET - CAIR briefing on Muslim 'radicalizaton' hearings - Rep. Peter King's first hearing happens tomorrow, but reaction to it continues to grow.¬† The Council on American-Islamic Relations briefs reporters on their opposition to the hearings.
Happy Mardi Gras from CNN.com Live!¬† We are your home for the latest developments on the crisis in Libya, as well as the final voyage for space shuttle Discovery.
Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - Clinton meets with Australian prime minister - The civil war in Libya is expected to be brought up when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Washington.
Some 220 miles above the Earth's surface, the shuttle Discovery docked Saturday afternoon with the International Space Station for the last time.
Due to problems lining up with each other, the shuttle's "hard-mating" with the permanent orbiter threatened to push the six-man crew off schedule. The hook-up was finished around 3 p.m., yet NASA's Mission Control noted a possibility that the installation of an express logistics carrier would not be completed until Sunday, one day later than planned.
Still, there were no major problems on the third day of the shuttle's 11-day mission, during which the crew is set to deliver a storage module, a science rig and spare parts to the space station and its six occupants.FULL STORY
Space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, late Thursday afternoon, beginning what is expected to be its final mission.
NASA had halted its countdown at five minutes due to a computer problem related to safety on the "eastern range." But after a confirmation that all was good to go, the countdown resumed and the shuttle lifted off about three minutes behind its planned 4:50 p.m. ET launch.
The six-member crew will deliver a storage module, a science rig and spare parts to the international space station during its 11-day mission.
The liftoff comes after months of delays due to leaks and cracks in the external tank.
The last scheduled launch of space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for April 19, and shuttle Atlantis is tentatively scheduled to launch during the summer.
NASA's shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch Thursday for its final mission as the shuttle program comes to an end. After months of delays due to leaks and cracks in the external tank, NASA says Discovery is ready.
And so are the people who began lining up along the causeways and waterfronts across from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week.
Abu Bakar Bashir
More than 1,200 police will be at the ready as radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir goes on trial on terrorism charges Thursday in Jakarta, according to reports from Indonesia.
Hundreds of the cleric's supporters were expected to rally outside the court Thursday, but only a few will be allowed inside the courtroom, the Jakarta Post reported.
Bashir, 72, faces charges including funding and inciting others to terrorism and planning and attempting acts of terrorism. Under Indonesia's anti-terrorism law, some of these charges carry the maximum penalty of death, according to a statement by the attorney general's office.
The charges stem from the discovery in February 2010 of a camp in Indonesia's Aceh province that was allegedly training agents for terrorist attacks on Western targets in Jakarta.
Bashir has been through two previous terrorism trials, over the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed more than 200 people and the 2003 JW Marriott bomb attack in Jakarta that left a dozen dead.
The courts found him guilty of relatively minor charges in the Bali case. He was released in June 2006 after serving 25 months in jail.
Astronaut Mark Kelly on Monday resumed training as commander of space shuttle Endeavour's upcoming mission, 30 days after his wife was shot in the head at a political event in Arizona.
Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, posted¬†an inverted¬†picture of his training Monday on his¬†Twitter account.
"Back at work," Kelly said in the Twitter post.
Kelly announced Friday that he would return to his crew and resume training, saying Giffords - among 13 wounded survivors in a January 8 Tucson, Arizona, shooting¬†that killed six people - is making progress in speech, occupational and physical therapy.
The astronaut husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Friday his wife's extraordinary medical progress since she was shot through the brain, coupled with support from family, friends and the public, were keys to his decision to command the upcoming flight of the space shuttle Endeavour.
During a press conference with NASA officials - who said they determined going with Kelly was the right decision - Mark Kelly described what he thought the realities would be after the January 8 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, and what he now expects.
"At that time, my thought was I'd very likely would be sitting in the ICU seat, two, four or six months later, by her bedside," said Kelly, sporting a blue wristband that reads "Peace, Love, Gabby."
Command of the shuttle flight came under question after Giffords was shot. Now, he said, he expects her to witness Endeavour soaring into space on the current April 19 timetable.
"I have every intention for her to be at the launch," said Kelly. "She would be very comfortable with the decision I made."FULL STORY
Egypt - The uprising in the African nation continued Friday as police fired tear gas into crowds in an attempt to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters. Vans filled with riot police circled Cairo neighborhoods before Friday afternoon prayers, and opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei was placed under house arrest, a high-level security source told CNN on Friday. Keep up with minute-by-minute action right here at "This Just In."
Meanwhile, in other nations, protests broke out in the Jordanian capital, and an opposition party in Albania pushed for more protests in Tirana. Analysts said the widespread protests are part of a ripple effect that began last month in Tunisia.
Challenger - It‚Äôs been a quarter-century since the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into takeoff, killing the six astronauts on aboard and teacher Christa McAuliffe. The disaster grounded the space shuttle program for three years. NASA Television will air a remembrance service honoring the crew, and June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Cmdr. Dick Scobee, will be among the speakers. CNN will also talk to a former neighbor and Sunday school pupil of McAuliffe‚Äôs, who says McAuliffe inspired her to become a teacher. Be sure to check out CNN‚Äôs full coverage page, Remembering Challenger.
Davos¬†- World leaders, economists and business people continued gathering Friday in Switzerland to discuss the global economy. The theme this year is ‚ÄúThe New Reality.‚ÄĚ Last year‚Äôs World Economic Forum in Davos focused on financial reform. CNN will explore¬†whether reforms have made the global banking system more stable.
This year, a ‚Äúlittle explosion‚ÄĚ at a hotel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy‚Äôs defense of the euro already have made headlines.