It was Kelly's first chance to see Giffords since she underwent surgery May 18 to repair her skull, damaged when she was shot through the head Jan. 8 in an assassination attempt during a meet-and-greet session in Tucson, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
Giffords, a Democrat, underwent a 3 1/2 hour surgery to repair her skull while Kelly was in orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, which made its final flight before being retired.
"They were smiling ear to ear. It was clear that they missed each other very much," C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for the congresswoman, said of Thursday's visit.
The two spent about 20 minutes privately in Gifford's hospital room before emerging.
"It was obvious that he was very anxious to see Gabby," Karamargin said.