Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Picks Wake-up Song for Shuttle

May 16: The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

May 16: The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.  (AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords helped start the first full work day in space for her husband and the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour with the song: "Beautiful Day" by U2.

It's the same song Giffords sent as a wake-up call to Mark Kelly in 2006 when they were just dating. But this time the message-of-hope lyrics seemed to have a special meaning given her recovery from being shot in the head Jan. 8 in Arizona.

This time the song was from Giffords and Kelly's two daughters.

"It's good to be waking up in space again," Kelly radioed back to Earth. "I want to thank Gabby, Claudia and Claire for that great wake up song. It's always good to hear U2 and 'Beautiful Day' in space."

U2's Bono, who came up with the lyrics, has said the song is about a man who has lost everything but finds joy in what he still has.

Giffords, a three-term Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, has recovered enough from the shooting to twice fly to Kennedy Space Center for launch attempts. When Endeavour's five Americans and one Italian got off the ground on Monday, she watched from a wheelchair on the roof of the launch control center and said "good stuff, good stuff."

Endeavour's crew has started their main duty for Tuesday: a more than five-hour camera inspection of the shuttle's delicate heat shield to make sure there's no damage from launch. On Monday, NASA officials said initial photographs show only a couple of small bits of insulating foam came off the fuel tank during the crucial phase of liftoff. This more detailed examination on Tuesday is crucial because it was heat shield damage from foam that shed during launch that led to the fatal 2003 break up of Columbia during its return to Earth.

Endeavour is on a 16-day mission -- the second to last space shuttle flight and last for Endeavour. Its main mission is to install on the International Space Station a $2 billion international physics experiment: a giant magnet that looks for antimatter and dark energy.