Friday marks the last time an American space shuttle will blaze its way into the great celestial beyond, capping more than a half century of manned space flight. Just as Americans gathered together to watch Sputnik's historic orbit, many will want to observe this seminal moment.
But assuming you don't live in or near Orlando (National Geographic estimates that a record one million people will be there) where can you go to watch? Here are some options.
In the sky
Both the space shuttle Atlantis and its destination, the International Space Station, should be visible to the human eye. The shuttle will appear as an unusually bright star that travels across the sky but, unlike a shooting star, does not disappear. Binoculars or a telescope will help.
Since the shuttle moves very rapidly across the sky, it is important to get the timing right. Websites such as Heavens Above and spaceweather.com provide updates on where Atlantis and the ISS are. When the shuttle approaches the space station to dock they will both be visible and on the same trajectory.
If all of the above seems a little complicated, you can tune in to the Discovery Channel's Last Shuttle: Our Journey program, which will include footage of the launch and interviews with the astronauts. The show airs at 10 P.M. on Friday.