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The Daily Need

Photo: Back in the pilot’s seat

Astronaut Mark Kelly participates in a training session at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center in September 2007. Photo: NASA

NASA announced today that astronaut Mark Kelly will resume training as commander of the STS-134 space shuttle mission on Monday, February 7. Kelly has been on personal leave since January 8 to care for his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in an assassination attempt in Tucson, Ariz.

He will be aboard shuttle Endeavour as commander of a two-week mission, scheduled to launch on April 19. Among the objectives of the mission is to deliver the cool-sounding Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a device that will study the universe’s origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter and strange matter, and by measuring cosmic rays.

Mark’s twin brother, Scott J. Kelly, is also a NASA astronaut. Scott has been aboard the International Space Station since October 8, 2010. The Kelly brothers are the only twins (or siblings, for that matter) to have both traveled in space.

You can follow Mark Kelly on his Twitter feed, where he posts updates on the mission and his wife’s progress. You can follow Scott Kelly on his Twitter feed where he is currently conducting a geography trivia game from space called “Where over the world is Astronaut Scott Kelly.”

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