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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 04/27/2011

Gabrielle Giffords walks onto plane for Florida (Video)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, shown here with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, will attend her husband's space shuttle launch in Florida on Friday. (Associated Press)
Boarding a plane in Houston, Gabrielle Giffords has left her rehabilitation center for a big date on Friday. No, not the Royal Wedding. Giffords heads to Cape Canaveral for the other newsmaker set for Friday: NASA’s final liftoff for the space shuttle Endeavor. On the crew will be Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly.

When asked by a reporter whether NASA was aware of the clash with the Royal Wedding, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, Bill Gerstenmaie, told Space.com: “We work beta constraints and we work launch-range constraints. I haven't yet put on our manifest charts ‘wedding constraints.’ ”

Giffords was spotted boarding a flight with a nurse by local news affiliate KHOU, which reported that she walked up the stairway to the plane by herself. It’s the first time she’s been seen in public since the shooting in Tucson.

Once the crew of Endeavor has made it into space, Google plans to launch a live interview with them streamed onto YouTube on May 2. People can submit their questions now.

We’ll have live coverage of Endeavor’s liftoff here Friday. The launch is set for 3:47 p.m. EDT.

By  |  11:46 AM ET, 04/27/2011

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