Space shuttle Atlantis: Big-screen launch events -- and Facebook tribute

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

The blastoff of the space shuttle Atlantis, the last launch planned in America’s manned shuttle program, is on the bubble. NASA on Wednesday put the chance of a Friday launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at just 30%, blaming a possible delay on forecast storms and rain. Meanwhile, the schedule for what’s officially known as STS-135 hasn’t changed from 8:26 a.m. PDT Friday.

While about 1 million people are expected to watch the historic event in person in Florida, you can also view it at special big-screen showings in Southern California and other places. There’s even a Facebook tribute event. Here are the details:

--The Final Space Shuttle Launch Viewing Event, 474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Public radio station KPCC-FM (89.3) and the Planetary Society will host this free event, which will broadcast NASA Television’s footage of the launch. The Planetary Society’s Matt Kaplan and Bruce Betts will be on hand to narrate. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. Tickets are free, but you need to RSVP for the event online.


--The Last Blast, Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland; (510) 336-7373. A $10 ticket gets you into the center’s Megadome Theater, where the launch will be shown on the museum’s massive screen. Doors open for the event at 7:30 a.m. You can purchase tickets by phone or online -- although at one point, the website said: “Tickets for Chabot Space & Science Center are temporarily unavailable online.” So you may need to book by phone.

--Last Space Shuttle Launch, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Gallery 113, Washington, D.C.; (202) 633-1000. The museum will air the NASA-TV broadcast on a big screen starting 11 a.m. EDT. The event is free and coincides with the museum’s 35th anniversary.

--"A Final Shuttle Launch Salute,” Facebook, 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PDT Friday. This social network tribute asks people to stand up, join and raise hands and keep their hands raised for the first 10 seconds of Atlantis’ launch. You can find details on the event by searching for the title on Facebook.