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Giffords aims to watch space launch

The astronaut husband of wounded US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said that she wants to be at his shuttle launch next month.

And she will be, he said, pending final approval from her doctors.

Ms Giffords is beginning to cope with the shooting in January that injured 12 others and killed six, Mark Kelly said.

She's doing "remarkably well," he told reporters at Nasa's Johnson Space Centre.

The congresswoman was shot in the head in Tucson, Arizona, while meeting with constituents.

"She's improving every day - and in the realm of brain injuries that is very significant and pretty rare," Mr Kelly said. "She's starting to walk, talk more - more every day."

Two weeks ago, Ms Giffords's doctors said she does not remember the shooting, but Mr Kelly told her about it. "She's starting to process some of the tragedy that we all went through in January," her husband said. "Despite that, she remains in a very good mood."

Mr Kelly spoke at the traditional pre-flight news conference for shuttle crews. With all six crew members wearing turquoise "Gabby" wristbands, Mr Kelly spoke first, reading from a statement before the astronauts took questions.

He said he wanted reporters to focus on the shuttle mission, not his wife's recovery. His identical twin and fellow astronaut Scott Kelly arrived in Houston last week after five months aboard the International Space Station, and visited Ms Giffords the next day.

Mark Kelly, 47, is the commander of Nasa's second last shuttle flight. Shuttle Endeavour is due to blast off for the final time on April 19, carrying up a two billion US dollar physics experiment to the space station.

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