Giffords to watch husband blast off

Doctors have given approval for Gabrielle Giffords, the US congresswoman who was shot in the head, to travel to Florida to see her astronaut husband's space shuttle launch this week.

The trip will be the first for Ms Giffords since she was flown from Tucson, Arizona, to Houston more than three months ago to recover after she was shot in the head at a community event in her home state of Arizona.

Her husband, Mark Kelly, told CBS television that Ms Giffords will witness the launch of Endeavour, which is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mr Kelly is the commander of the mission.

"I've met with her doctors ... they've given us permission to take her down to the launch," Mr Kelly said.

President Barack Obama and his family are also scheduled to watch the launch, although it is unclear if they will watch it with Ms Giffords. Families view launches from a restricted area, and there are no plans for Ms Giffords to make a public appearance. Ms Giffords has not been seen publicly since the shooting.

The congresswoman was shot during a community outreach event in the car park of a shopping centre in Tucson. A gunman killed six people and wounded 13 others, includingMs Giffords.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the attack and is in custody.

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