- Associated Press - Friday, February 4, 2011

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. (AP) - NASA has confirmed that the astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will fly to space in April.

NASA said late Friday morning that shuttle commander Mark Kelly will be on board for the final flight of Endeavour. He will resume training as mission commander on Monday.

In a news release from NASA, Kelly said he looks forward to joining his crew and finishing all the training for the two-week mission. He said they have been training for more than 18 months, and will be ready to carry out the mission.

Kelly is holding a news conference at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon.

He took a leave from training after his wife was shot in the head outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has made his choice. He’s headed to space in April.

An official close to the space shuttle program confirmed Friday morning that astronaut Mark Kelly will be aboard Endeavour for its final flight. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not yet been made public.

Kelly is holding a news conference at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon.

He took a leave from training after his wife was shot in the head outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket as she met with constituents on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 were injured in the rampage; a 22-year-old suspect is in custody.

The Arizona congresswoman was in intensive care for two weeks before she was transferred to Houston, where she is undergoing rehab.

Kelly, 46, spent the past month debating whether to step down as commander of Endeavour’s two-week mission. As he agonized over the decision, NASA named a backup commander, Rick Sturckow, who joined the crew for training.

Liftoff is targeted for April 19.

Kelly’s identical twin, Scott, currently commander of the International Space Station, hinted in an interview earlier this week that his brother would choose to fly.

Kelly has flown three times aboard space shuttles; April’s trip to the International Space Station will be his fourth. He will lead a veteran, all-male, American-Italian crew.

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