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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contact:  Shell Amega 213-744-7446
Pager number: 323-525-4529
February 3, 2002
California Science Center Previews Air and Space Gallery with Discovery Ball 2002

Evening Highlighted by The First Lady of California Sharon Davis

First Lady Sharon Davis, along with Executive Director Jeff Rudolph, Carmen Valencia, and entrepreneur and space traveler Dennis Tito.
Photograph by Lee Salem Photography, Inc.

Los Angeles, CA - The California Science Center commemorated its fourth anniversary and previewed the Air and Space Gallery with a black-tie gala event Saturday, February 2, 2002 in Exposition Park. Discovery Ball 2002 with the theme "Flight of Fancy", was a stunning success, with a crowd of more than 600 guests. As a highlight of the evening, guests were able to hear First Lady of California Sharon Davis speak and see a preview of the newly renovated Air and Space Gallery, formerly known as Aerospace Hall. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the Air and Space Gallery will reopen to the public March 9, 2002. Through an association with NASA, it features a changing-exhibits section highlighting emerging scientific breakthroughs and as a Smithsonian Affiliate, the Air and Space gallery displays significant aeronautic and space history artifacts from the Smithsonian's collection including the MR-2 and Gemini Capsule.

Science Center Trustee Bob Lorsch introduces Dennis Tito.
Photograph by Lee Salem Photography, Inc.
Another highlight of the evening was a presentation by Dennis Tito who, on April 28, 2001, made history by becoming the first individual to personally pay to travel in space. Launched from Baikonur, Kazakstan, Dennis served as a crewmember of an eight-day Russian Soyuz taxi mission to the International Space Station.

Other distinguished guests included former Governor Pete Wilson, Congresswoman Diane Watson, State Senators Nell Soto and Kevin Murray, Assemblymembers Jenny Oropeza, and George Nakano, and Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas. Other state legislators, local elected officials, business and community leaders were among the assemblage of guests. The event raised over 350,000 with the proceeds designated to benefit the education programs and exhibits of the nonprofit California Science Center.

First Lady Sharon Davis shares a warm handshake with former FirstLady Gayle Wilson.
Photograph by Lee Salem Photography, Inc.

The reception began at 6 p.m. in the Air and Space Gallery. Guests walked through a pathway of clouds, flashing lights and an audio of a recording of astronauts on a space flight into the Science Center for a brief program. Following an elegant dinner, which was served on the first level of the Science Center, the festivities continued with a viewing of "The Human Body" in the Science Center's IMAX Theater and dancing in the third floor Art and Science Gallery which was transformed into "The Starlight Ballroom" complete with a live band.

The Discovery Ball 2002 dinner committee was co-chaired by George Pla, President and CEO of Cordoba Corporation and Lon Rosenberg, Regional Manager, Aramark Sports and Entertainment. The event was generously underwritten, in part, by Northrop Grumman and Aramark Sports and Entertainment.

The California Science Center continues its Air and Space theme with the local April 19th premiere of the new IMAX film, SPACE STATION. Narrated by Tom Cruise, SPACE STATION is a 3D cinematic journey to the International Space Station and features the story of a unique partnership of 16 nations building a laboratory in outer space.

The California Science Center has provided fun, memorable science learning experiences for more than 6 million guests since opened in February 1998.

The California Science Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission to the exhibits is free; IMAX ticket prices vary. For recorded information on IMAX show times, phone (213) 744-7400. For advance ticket purchases, group rates or to make a free reservation for any group of 15 or more (required), call (213) 744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th streets for $6 per car. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.

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