Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords made her first public appearance at an award ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Giffords rose from her wheelchair and kissed her husband which was greeted by cheers, tears and applause in the audience.

Captain Mark Kelly and the rest of the Endeavour Space Shuttle crew were honored with awards for returning safely after the shuttle's final mission.

According to ABC News she appeared in good spirits and chatted and laughed with those sitting next to her. The couple held hands throughout the event.

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Giffords was wearing jeans, a light shirt and sneakers along with a beige scarf and glasses. Also her hair appeared to be much shorter than it seemed in the photographs her office released a few weeks ago on her Facebook page.

Earlier this month Giffords was released from a Houston rehabilitation center. She is now recovering at her husband's home in Houston.

The Congresswoman was shot in the head, on January 8, at an event outside a Tucson supermarket. The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner (22), left six dead and 13 injured. He has now been charged with 49 federal crimes however last month a judge ruled that Loughner is not competent enough to stand trial.

Last week Captain Kelly announced that he would retire from NASA, as of October 1. He and his wife plan to write a memoir about their extraordinary lives together.

his photo of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was posted on her Facebook page. The woman at right is her mother, Gloria GiffordsP.K. Weis / SouthwestPhotoBank