First Pics: Gabrielle Giffords' Recovery From The Shooting Hits A New Benchmark

It's great to see Gabrielle Giffords in any capacity right now. Good for her. She's going to see her husband's liftoff.

ABC News:

A fragile but determined Rep. Gabrielle Giffords walked one careful step at a time today up the steps of a plane that will take her Florida to watch her husband blast off on the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavor..

The gritty walk by Giffords, who was wearing a padded medical helmet, was her first public steps since being shot in the head at a public event in January.

The Arizona congresswoman left TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital and boarded a waiting NASA plane at Ellington Airport in Houston.

Giffords was spotted leaving the hospital in a wheelchair and with her face covered before being driven to the airport. At the airport, she walked under her own power and without assistance from the car to the plane stairway and slowly up the steps.

Giffords' staff has tried to keep her out of view from the public, and said she would not be making any public appearances during the Endeavor's launch. Giffords will be joined on Friday by Kelly's three daughters, President Obama and the first lady at Cape Canaveral to watch the launch. Giffords' husband navy pilot and astronaut Mark Kelly arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.

"She's been working really hard to make sure that her doctors would permit her to come," Kelly said Tuesday.

NASA said Giffords would receive a "little more care and attention" as she visited Florida to watch the on

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