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Rep. Gifford's Love From Outer Space

Washington may be having a collective anxiety attack about the finality and uncertainty of today's last Democratic presidential primaries. But the one person in town who is most on pins and needles this week is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). And not because she's as undeclared superdelegate.

Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, is commanding the space shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station this week to deliver a Japanese laboratory (as well as critically needed plumbing supplies to fix the lone toilet on the space station). And until Kelly is safely back on planet Earth, the freshman congresswoman isnt' getting much quality sleep.

Gabrielle Giffords
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, commander of the space shuttle Discovery, have an outer space romance.

"It's extremely nerve-wracking for the families," Giffords tells the Sleuth. As a member of Congress who sits on the House Science & Technology Committee, Giffords is unique among NASA spouses. Still, she said, she worries every bit as much as the others.

"So far, so good. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed." (She points out that NASA started with five space shuttles. "Now we only have three.")

But at least the newlywed congresswoman can see her husband
of barely six months every day during his 14-day mission -- on NASA's shuttle web cam.

"I check it out all the time, peek on him and see what he's up to," she says.

The other day she saw him eating lunch. "He likes the shrimp cocktail."

Giffords, who turns 38 on Sunday, also has received a love missive from outer space, an email sent from her 44-year-old husband that said: "The Earth is still big and blue. Saw Israel, Egypt, Africa, Himalayas, the Andes and Japan."

"There was some lovey-dovey stuff in there, too," Giffords conceded, without divulging too much.

Kelly also managed to deliver a dozen red roses to his wife after blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., where Giffords watched last Saturday's launch with friends and family. Giffords says the hubby arranged for a fellow astronaut to hand her a vase full of roses "right after the main engine cut off, about 8 ½ minutes after takeoff, the riskiest part of the launch" to sooth her nerves -- a promise, perhaps, of their own personal rendezvous to follow the commander's rendezvous with the space station.

We think the couple's new theme song should be "A Love From Outer Space" by Tahiti 80. Check out this outstanding music video of the song.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 3, 2008; 2:00 PM ET
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