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President Obama to attend Endeavour shuttle launch

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President Obama plans to attend the April 29 launch of space shuttle Endeavour, adding even more star power to NASA's second-to-last shuttle launch, according to a White House official.

The president will bring his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Sasha and Malia, to the launch, now scheduled at 3:47 p.m. a week from Friday

Sources close to the discussion said several factors played into his decision to attend.

For one, Obama already plans to be in Florida that day for a commencement address at Miami Dade College. Secondly, the Endeavour launch carries major significance -- beyond the emotion expected to accompany the sunset of the 30-year shuttle program.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), severely wounded during an assassination attempt in January, also is planning to attend and watch her husband, Endeavour commander Mark Kelly, lead a crew of six into orbit. Supporters see the trip as a sign she is recovering from her gunshot wounds.

You can read more about the announcement from our partners at the Orlando Sentinel.

Mmatthews2@tribune.com

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