Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said he is worried that if the government shuts down, the husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Mark Kelly, will be unable to lead the space shuttle mission he is scheduled to command later this month.

“What about Gabby Gifford’s husband, who is supposed to go on a NASA mission?” asked Nelson. “Are they going to continue that preparation? Are they going to lay off the astronaut crew because they are not essential?”

“Is Captain Mark Kelly ... going to be able to command that mission to take the final components up to low orbit to connect those final components to the international space station?” asked Nelson.

Giffords was gravely wounded by a gunman in January. Her husband is scheduled to lead a NASA mission launching April 29.

In January 1986, Nelson spent six days orbiting Earth as a payload specialist aboard Space Shuttle Columbia and has become a leading advocate for NASA in Congress. 

“Ladies and gentleman, we are not even playing with fire, we are playing with super heated fire,”  concluded Nelson.