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NASA picks backup commander for STS-134
Posted: Fri, Jan 14, 2011, 6:32 AM ET (1132 GMT)
NASA announced Thursday the selection of a backup commander for the STS-134 shuttle mission this spring in the aftermath of Saturday's Tucson shooting that wounded the wife of the mission's current commander. Rick Sturckow, a veteran of four shuttle flights and deputy chief of the astronaut office, will stand in for Mark Kelly in the near term to allow the crew to resume training. Kelly is the husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in critically wounded in Tucson on Saturday. NASA officials said that Kelly remains commander of the mission, but naming Sturckow allows training to continue and gives the agency flexibility. Kelly, in a brief statement, said he is "very hopeful" he will be able to resume training and fly on the mission. The shuttle mission is scheduled for launch on April 19.
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