Malibu Seen: Out of this world!

A-list astronauts Bill and Cheryl Chadwick get ready for take off at the California Science Center’s Discovery Ball.

When it comes to putting on a stellar, Oscar-worthy production, the folks at the California Science Center know how to knock it out of the park, or perhaps the stratosphere. Think of it as science meets sensational, education meets incredible. After the outpouring of emotion and enthusiasm throughout the entire city of Los Angeles, could there be a bigger superstar than the one, the only, the Space Shuttle Endeavour?

To say the very least, the California Science Center’s 15th annual Discovery Ball was a blast! Talk about a star trek!

Eight hundred and fifty oh-so-chic guests, including Malibu’s top California Science Center supporters Cheryl and Bill Chadwick, were among the lucky few who embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Partygoers received boarding passes from the in-flight crew and paused for Space Age cocktails before taking in “Space Exploration: Past, Present and Future.”

The evening began with Judy Jetson-clad servers in mod minis and go-go boots dishing out creamy leak tarts and first class canapés. Before boarding, attendees had a chance to preview “Mission 26: The Big Endeavour,” a spectacular photographic exhibition that will be a delight to those of all ages. The jet-set ground crew, complete with flashlights, directed partiers to spaces in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion.

Eventgoers followed their path to the grand hangar where they approached the awesome beauty of one of the world’s most famous starships, and entered to the sounds of a supersonic nine-piece band and a ‘60s style crooner belting out appropriate hits like “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Come Fly with Me” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.”

As partygoers headed into the hangar, they got a first glimpse of the Endeavour in all its majesty. The futuristic tables were dressed up in all white with shiny, space shuttle style tiles and glass orbs filled with miniature planets, South African protea and white orchids. The walls projected a beautiful, California sunset as the clock counted down the minutes and seconds until lift off. At the appointed hour there was a rumble…a roar…and take off.

Mid-flight there was enormous applause and a standing ovation for honorary chair Lynda Oschin, who spoke on behalf of the Oschin Family Foundation, which helped the Discovery Ball raise a whopping $1.5 million.

The impact of the evening was not lost on Bill Chadwick, who has been the guiding light behind the CSC for years.

“The Endeavour has grossly exceeded our expectations,” he said. “Over one million visitors in four months will cause a doubling of our annual admission-free attendance as the community has warmly embraced this attraction.”

Perhaps more than an extremely popular attraction, the Endeavour is also a learning tool.

“Endeavour is truly inspiring the next generations of scientists and that’s our mission to cause children to dream about possibilities and pursue them,” Chadwick said. “The Endeavour is like a pebble in a sea of children.”

Dining under the wings of the shuttle, so close you could almost touch its famous tiles, was an experience that could make your heart sing or as Sinatra might say, “hear the angels cheer.”

But whether you are at the Discovery Ball as a guest or a first time California Science Center visitor, the experience is like no other, the air is rarefied and is sure to leave you starry-eyed.

So what are you waiting for? Pack up! Let’s fly away!