Loughner's competency exam will proceed; Giffords on track for shuttle launch

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jared Loughner is in Springfield, MO where he will undergo a competency exam to help a judge determine whether or not he is fit to stand trial.

The federal judge in the case ruled he will not stop the exam.

Loughner's lawyers wanted it put on hold while they appeal, but Judge Larry Burns says the facility in Springfield is the best and closest place for the exam and won't hurt the defense.

And there was word Thursday of progress by wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, from her husband astronaut Mark Kelly.

Speaking at a NASA briefing in Houston, he confirmed Giffords remains on track to attend next month's launch of space shuttle Endeavour.

Kelly, who will command the mission, reported Giffords is, 'improving every day,' but final approval will come from her doctors.

"She's starting to walk, talk more, more every day.  And she's starting to process some of the tragedy that, we all went through in January, she's going through that as we speak," said Kelly.

Space shuttle "Endeavour" will blast off into orbit April 19 to deliver equipment to the International Space Station.