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50 years of ITB Berlin: out of this world

Happy birthday ITB Berlin! To mark the anniversary of the world’s leading travel trade show in 2016 ITB Berlin is visiting 50 travel destinations in cooperation with airberlin. Ambassadors of ITB Berlin are travelling around the world and picking up interesting, fascinating and unusual stories in encounters with the representatives of the various countries in question. For those who are interested the meetings can be followed under the heading of “From Berlin with Love“ at www.itb50.com, where new stories are published every week. All of these encounters will be recorded in a book which will be presented at ITB Berlin 2016.


One of these journeys around the globe was to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, where Nicole Grabsch, an astronomy enthusiast, met former NASA astronaut Jon McBride. He talked about his space missions and the prospects for space tourism in the decades to come.


Mr. McBride, what was your most amazing moment in space?

Jon McBride: the first time I looked at planet Earth from space, 45 minutes after we had lifted off in Australia. I was totally overwhelmed.


What did you miss most in space?

I was so excited and happy about being there that I hardly missed anything.


Why do so many people want to travel to outer space?

The lure of being on the edge of our final frontier, in low earth orbit and beyond. If we had had a conversation in 1915 and I had told you then that I believed there would be a man on the moon by 1970 you would probably have said I was mad. Today, I say it is not unreasonable to imagine that by the end of the century we will have settled on Mars.


Do you think space tourism is possible?

I think it is possible within the next ten to twenty years.


Will we be able to travel into space in the same way that we fly from one place to another?

That depends on how strong our desire in the USA is for that to happen. Do we have the same leadership qualities and the same drive that President Kennedy did? Will we even do it at all? There is a guaranteed return of five to ten dollars for every dollar we spend. The determining factor is not cost. Instead it is priorities, initiative and resolve.


How physically and psychologically fit must one be for space travel?

Other than being reasonably healthy there are not many requirements for sub-orbital flight. In order to remain in space for a longer period of time you need to be in relatively good physical and mental shape. Size and physical strength are less important than intelligence and a logical mind.

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