Three weeks after he landed space shuttle Endeavour at the end of its final voyage, Captain Mark Kelly said he’ll be retiring from NASA and the U.S. Navy to be with his wife, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, as she recovers from gunshot wounds suffered in January.
“As life takes unexpected turns we frequently come to a crossroads,” Kelly wrote in a post on Facebook. “I am at this point today. Gabrielle is working hard every day on her mission of recovery. I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters.”
Giffords returned to her Tucson home last week for the first time since the shooting that severely injured her and killed six others on January 8.
Kelly said his retirement from the Navy and NASA would take effect October 1.
“I know that as our space program evolves, there are those who will question NASA’s future. I am not among them. There isn’t a group more dedicated to its mission or more capable than the outstanding men and women of NASA. Exploration is a critical component of what makes our country great. We will continue to explore and NASA will continue to lead that effort,” Kelly wrote.