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Shuttle launch anticipation grows - again

The countdown clock is ticking again for Monday morning's scheduled liftoff of space shuttle Endeavour, after the mission was scrubbed last month due to electrical problems.

Capt. Mark Kelly will be in command for the vehicle's last flight, and his wife, injured Ariz. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is expected to be among NASA family members looking on.

Giffords was shot in the head in January during a Tucson gathering with constituents, and has been rehabilitating in Houston.

Pictures: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Special Section: Tragedy in Tucson

Engineers, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella, say they've fixed the electrical glitch in Endeavor's hydraulic system that forced NASA to scrap one of the most-watched launches in recent memory.

President Obama and his family were there April 29, along with a crowd of 700,000, to see Endeavor's last liftoff and what may be the space program's most famous couple, Giffords and Kelly.

Monday's crowd is expected to be in the half-million range, Cobiella says, hoping to see Endeavor finally lift off into the history books.

Postponements of any mission are probably harder on the astronauts' families than the crew members themselves, retired astronaut Dr. Jerry Linenger told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Russ Mitchell.

Linenger, who spent 132 days in space on a single mission and is a friend of both Giffords and Kelly, says the families have "a lot of rearranging to do and everything else. Generally I think, (for) the family, it's a disappointment, obviously, to everyone, and to the astronaut. But you kind of understand it could happen at any time."

He says Giffords and other members of the crew's families will be on the roof of the Launch Control Center, which will afford them "a great view. You're about 2-1/2 miles away, and that's as close as you want to come to something with 7 million pounds of thrust that's gonna go, you know, Mach 25 in about 7 minutes. So (Giffords will have) a great view. They've got the video feeds. They always have an astronaut -- another astronaut chosen by the family to be with her. Every family has the same things. They have someone there in case something does go wrong, a person you trust, a person who knows what's going on."

Just seeing loved ones on a spaceship, Linenger says, is "very stressful. On the other hand, I think Gabby, you know, she's see a launch before. I think she's gonna feel the launch. If you go to a launch, it's light, it's explosion, it's sound waves hitting you. And I think she's gonna feel that and say, 'Man, I've been here before.' I think it's gonna be a wonderful, nice moment for her to feel that again."

Linenger says he's not surprised Kelly has been able to keep his focus during all that's happened since the shooting. "He's an old naval aviator," Linenger notes. "He's been at the back end of aircraft carriers on stormy nights, where you've got to focus and concentrate.

"And this is a heck of a mission, too. We're not talking about the mission launch. We're taking up an astrophysics laboratory, $2 billion laboratory, attach it to the international space station. So mark's got plenty to think about, about moving our country forward. Moving the world forward. And you just have to sort of tuck things away.

"During my flight I found out my wife was pregnant before I launched. And I was gone for five months. So you know, I was on the -- every woman's blacklist after that. After leaving my wife for, you know, for five months in space, got back with two weeks to go and had our second child. So, you know, life circumstances happen. You sort of compartmentalize them away, and you concentrate on the mission."

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