Navy Captain Mark Kelly will be celebrated for his military service at a 1pm Eastern retirement ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.
Giffords, who continues her recovery after being critically wounded in a January 8 shooting at a public outreach event in Tucson, Arizona, rarely travels.
Her office said in a press release Wednesday, "This is the sixth time Giffords has left Houston since arriving in January. In late April, she flew to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by Kelly. Mechanical problems forced a launch delay and Giffords flew back to Florida two weeks later for the successful May 16 launch."
The vice president will administer the retirement oath to Captain Kelly, who is retiring from the Navy. He became a naval aviator in 1987, participating in Operation Desert Storm, and later became a NASA astronaut. He has received numerous medals.
Both the vice president and Captain Kelly will make remarks, but no television cameras will be allowed to cover the event.
Instead, photos will be posted on Congresswoman Gifford's Facebook page.
The president has previously met with Giffords and her husband, but he will not be in attendance at Thursday's event. Giffords has not returned to full-time work in Congress, but her office says, "Over the past seven months, the congresswoman has received regular updates from her staff on issues of importance to Southern Arizona and the nation."