Marcos Pontes

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Marcos Cesar Pontes
Marcos Pontes.jpg
AEB Astronaut / Astronauta
Nationality Brazilian
Status Active
Born (1963-03-11) March 11, 1963 (age 54)
Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil
Other occupation
Fighter pilot
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Time in space
9d 21h 17m
Selection 1998 NASA Group
Missions Soyuz TMA-8, Soyuz TMA-7
Mission insignia
Soyuz TMA-8 Patch.png

Marcos Cesar Pontes (born March 11, 1963) is a Brazilian Air Force pilot and AEB astronaut. He became the first Brazilian and the first Lusophone to go into space when he launched into the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-8 on March 30, 2006. He is the only Brazilian to have completed the NASA astronaut training program, although he switched to training in Russia after NASA's Space Shuttle program encountered problems. He is married and has two children.

Early life[edit]

Pontes was born in the town of Bauru, in the southeastern state of São Paulo. His father Vergílio was a servant of the Instituto Brasileiro do Café, currently extinct, and his mother Zuleika was clerk of the Rede Ferroviária Federal (RFFSA), also extinct.[1]


Pontes is one of the most experienced jet pilots in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), where he holds the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and has flown for more than 2000 hours in 25 different aircraft. In June 1998, he was selected by the Brazilian Space Agency to train in the NASA space program after he acquired a space-related background in the Aeronautical Engineering division of the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (the Aeronautics Technological Institute, or "ITA"), which he transferred to in pursuit of a childhood dream to become an astronaut. He began NASA training in August 1998 and qualified as Space Shuttle Mission Specialist in December 2000.

Initially, Pontes' maiden spaceflight was scheduled to be on a Space Shuttle, where he was to help transport the ExPRESS Pallet, which would have been the International Space Station's first Brazilian-made component, into orbit. Negotiations between NASA and AEB (the Brazilian Space Agency) fell through due to the Express Pallet budgetary concerns from the Brazilian counterpart. During the delay Pontes ran a campaign to hasten the Brazilian government to complete the Express Pallet, and worked on technical assignments in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch at NASA. His flight was postponed indefinitely when AEB confirmed that it could not produce the Express Pallet and its components for NASA.

Astronauts Marcos Pontes and Jeffrey N. Williams (center), and cosmonaut Pavel V. Vinogradov, take a break from their training at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, days before their launch on a Soyuz spacecraft.

On September 2, 2005, an agreement which cost about US$20 million between the governments of Brazil and Russia provided for Pontes to train at Star City, near Moscow, to learn about the Soyuz's operational and life-support systems, and to fly to the International Space Station in March 2006. The agreement was signed by the presidents of the Brazilian and Russian space agencies, Sérgio Gaudenzi and Anatoli Perminov, respectively.

Pontes' flight coincided with celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont's successful flight of a fixed-wing airplane in Paris in October 1906.

On March 30, 2006, Pontes became the first Brazilian and the first native Portuguese-speaking person to go into space, where he stayed on the International Space Station for a week. During his trip, Pontes carried out eight experiments selected by the Brazilian Space Agency. He landed in Kazakhstan on April 8, 2006, with the crew of Expedition 12.

Following the Soyuz mission, Pontes returned to his technical duties for the International Space Station Program at the Johnson Space Center, working with FIESP/SENAI-SP for the development and fabrication of the Brazilian parts for the ISS. Pontes entered to the reserve of the Brazilian Air Force and awaits a new space mission. He is also an Invited Researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo at São Carlos. He is embassador of UNIDO and WorldSkills. Pontes open an educational foundation and a tourism agency, together with the future Brazilian space tourist Marcos Palhares, who will be traveling to space through of the Virgin Galactic.[2] [3] [4] [5]


He went to the Naval Postgraduate School and many others too.


Marcos received those awards through his career:

77º Maior Brasileiro de Todos os Tempos
Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão - SBT

"Membro Honorário"
Academia Bauruense de Letras

Brasília 50 anos - "Personalidade da Década"
Centro de Integração Cultural e Empresarial de SP

Asteroid "38245 MarcosPontes"
Cristóvão Jaques - International Astronomical Union

Medalha de Mérito Nacional - Herói da Rússia
Federação Russa

Medalha Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Rússia

Embaixador da ONU para o Desenvolvimento Industrial - UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Embaixador Mundial do Ensino Profissionalizante
WorldSkills International

Embaixador no Brasil para Educação Científica e Tecnológica
FIRST Foundation

Graduação com distinção
Naval Postugraduate School - US NAVY

Comendador da Paz dos reservistas da ONU
Comitê Internacional da Paz

Boina Azul Honoris Causa
United Nations (Organização das Nações Unidas - ONU)

Prize Galactic Patrol
Embaixada Mundial da Paz - Geneve Embassy – Suísse

Título "Castillo De Oro"
Colegio Militar de Aviación "Tgral. German Busch" - Bolívia

Título "Mérito Aeronáutico - Gran Maestre De La Orden"
Fuerza Aerea Boliviana

Título "Membro Honorário"
Red de Astronomía de Colombia

Título "Defensor Emérito da Liberdade, Informação e Comunicação"
Associação Paulista de Imprensa - API

Personalidade Internacional - Medalha de Ouro
Sociedade Acadêmica Francesa de Artes, Ciências e Letras - França / Paris

Comendador do Grau de Grã-Cruz da "Ordem do Mérito Cívico e Cultural"
Sociedade Brasileira de Heráldica e Humanística

Medalha da Ordem do Mérito Literário
Federação das Academias de Letras e Artes do Estado de São Paulo

Comendador da Ordem do Mérito do Empreendedor Juscelino Kubitschek
Centro de Integração Cultural e Empresarial de São Paulo – CICESP

Dom Marcos Pontes no âmbito interno do Sodalício
Sociedade Brasileira de Heráldica e Humanística

Personalidade da Década da Ordem do Mérito do Empreendedor Juscelino Kubitschek
ABRAHM - Academia Brasileira de Honrarias ao Mérito

Comenda da Ordem do Rio Branco no Grau Oficial
Ministério de Relações Exteriores

Ordem do Mérito Nacional
Presidência da República do Brasil

Ordem do Mérito Aeronáutico
Comando da Aeronáutica

Chancellor-Mor da Ordem Nacional do Mérito da Aviação e da Navegação Aeroespacial
Sociedade Brasileira de Heráldica e Humanística

Medalha do Mérito Santos Dumont
Comando da Aeronáutica

Medalha Militar de Bronze
Força Aérea Brasileira

Medalha Militar de Prata
Força Aérea Brasileira

Medalha Tiradentes
Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal

Medalha Custus Vigilat
Prefeitura Municipal de Bauru,SP

Prêmio Academia da Força Aérea
Academia da Força Aérea

Prêmio Tiro Aéreo
3/10 Grupo de Aviação

Prêmio Primeiro colocado
Escola de Aperfeiçoamento de Oficiais - Universidade da Força Aérea

Menção honrosa Departamento de Matemática
Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica - ITA

Menção honrosa Departamento de Mecânica de Vôo e Orbital
Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica - ITA

Menção honrosa Departamento de Estruturas
Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica - ITA

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica

Prêmio Primeiro colocado
Curso de Ensaios em Vôo - Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço

Título Mérito Legislativo em Educação
Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do Amapá

Cidadão Pederneirense
Prefeitura Municipal de Pederneiras,SP

Cidadão Joseense
Prefeitura Municipal de São José dos Campos,SP

Cidadão Curitibano
Prefeitura Municipal de Curitiba,PR

Cidadão Sorocabano
Prefeitura Municipal de Sorocaba,SP

Título "Mérito Milton Martins"
Câmara Municipal de Parauapebas/PA

See also[edit]


External links[edit]