Nightly News | May 16, 2011
>> center after a two-week delay, the space shuttle "endeavour" took off for the last time with mark kelly in the commander's seat and his wounded wife watching on the ground. tom costello is at the kennedy space center tonight. good evening.
>> reporter: a windy one at that. gabby giffords ' staff said she's still not fully aware of everything that happened in tucson in january, but she's very aware of her husband's mission and she was determined to be here for it.
>> three, two, one. zero, and liftoff for the final launch of "endeavour."
>> in typically spectacular fashion, it roared off the pad just past 10:00 , breaking through cloud cover and racing for a rendezvous with the space station . these dramatic photos taking by a passenger in a commercial plane in the air at the time. waunching the launch from a private viewing area at the cape, shuttle commander mark kelly 's wife, gabby giffords , still recovering from a head wound suffering in january's shooting rampage in tucson. her chief of staff was with her.
>> she turned to me said and, good stuff. i said, yeah, this is good stuff. this is like, finally, we have arrived at his launch date.
>> reporter: moments before liftoff, he spoke to the millions cheering on his crew.
>> including our spouses, children, family and friends, we thank you for your support.
>> reporter: once the shuttle was in orbit, mark kelly delivered tulips to giffords on behalf of mark and roses to his two daughters. meanwhile, he sent a handwritten note to be read by giffords when he was in space.
>> the fact that gabby was able to come down here speaks to the triumph of good over evil. and just her resilience and her dedication and motivation is an example that the country ought to try to follow.
>> reporter: "endeavour's" 24th miz will deliver spare parts to the space station . on the nearby roads and beaches, half a million spectators gathered to witness "endeavour's" final mission and a story of love, dedication, and triumph. sxoo every one of the crew members on board is wearing one of these in space. it's a bracelet that says peace, love, and gabby. and mark kelly has taken into space gabby's wedding ring , and she has his on earth. and finally tonight, brian, an update from gabby giffords ' staff. her next major medical hurdle will be to replace a portion of the skull that was taken off in january during the tragedy. back to you.
>> beautiful evening down at the