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|Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation|
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Gilberto Kassab|
Marcos Cesar Pontes
March 11, 1963
Bauru, SP, Brazil
|Political party||PSL (Since 2018) |
|Occupation||Fighter pilot, astronaut|
|Branch/service||Brazilian Air Force|
Time in space
|9d 21h 17m |
|Selection||1998 NASA Group|
|Missions||Soyuz TMA-8, Soyuz TMA-7, Expedition 12|
Marcos Cesar Pontes (born March 11, 1963) is a Brazilian Air Force pilot, engineer, AEB astronaut and author. He became the first South American 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 currently lives in Houston with his wife and two children. After Jair Bolsonaro's victory for President of Brazil, Pontes was officially nominated as Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, which he accepted days later.
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.
Air Force and Space career
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 Institute of Technology, 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. He attended the Naval Postgraduate School of the US Navy in 1998.
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.
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.
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 an ambassador of UNIDO and WorldSkills. Pontes opened 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.
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Pontes announced his intent to visit space for a second time. In his 2011 book Missão Cumprida, he also declares he is interested in a possible candidature for a unespecified political post in Brazil.
Besides his work as an astronaut and Air Force commander, Marcos also authored four books:
- 2011 - É Possível! Como Transformar seus Sonhos em Realidade ("It's Possible! How to Make Your Dreams Come True")
- 2011 - Missão Cumprida: A História da Primeira Missão Espacial Brasileira ("Mission Accomplished: The History of the First Brazilian Space Mission")
- 2012 - O Menino do Espaço ("The Space Boy")
- 2015 - Caminhando com Gagarin ("Walking with Gagarin")
He also writes articles on his website. The main themes are motivation and space travel.
Pontes in the Zvezda service module
Marcos received numerous awards through his career.
|Order of Aeronautic Merit||Brazilian Air Force|
|Santos Dumont Medal of Merit||Brazilian Air Force|
|Bronze Military Medal||Brazilian Air Force|
|Silver Military Medal||Brazilian Air Force|
|Tiradentes Medal||Military Police of the Federal District|
|Academy of the Air Force Award||Academy of the Air Force|
|Aerial Shot Award||3/10 Aviation Group, Brazilian Air Force|
|First Place Award||Officer Improving School - University of the Airforce (UNIFA)|
|Honorable Mention - Department of Mathematics||Technological Institute of Aeronautics|
|Honorable Mention - Department of Mechanics and Orbital Flight||Technological Institute of Aeronautics|
|Honorable Mention - Department of Structure||Technological Institute of Aeronautics|
|First Place Award||Course and Preparation in Flight - Institute of Aeronautics and Space, Brazilian Air Force|
|77th Greatest Brazilian of All Time||SBT|
|Honorary Member||Bauruense Academy of Letters|
|Personality of the Decade - 50 Years of Brasília||Center of Business and Cultural Integration, São Paulo (CICESP)|
|Título "Defensor Emérito da Liberdade, Informação e Comunicação"||São Paulo Press Association|
|Commander of the Great Cross - Order of Cultural and Civic Merit||Brazilian Society of Heraldics and Humanism|
|Literary Order of Merit Medal||Federation of Academies of Letter and Arts of São Paulo|
|Personality of the Decade, Order of Merit of Juscenlino Kubitschek||Center of Business and Cultural Integration, São Paulo (CICESP)|
|Dom Marcos Pontes no âmbito interno do Sodalício||Brazilian Society of Heraldics and Humanism|
|Personality of the Decade, Order of Merit of Juscenlino Kubitschek||Brazilian Academy of Honours to Merit (ABRAHM)|
|Commander of the Order of Rio Branco in Official Degree||Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|National Order of Merit||Federal Government of Brazil|
|Chancellor-Mor of the National Order of Merit of Aeroespacial Aviation and Navigation||Brazilian Society of Heraldics and Humanism|
|Custus Vigilat Medal||Municipality of Bauru|
|Título Mérito Legislativo em Educação||Legislative Assembly of Amapá|
|Citizen of Pederneiras||Municipality of Pederneiras|
|Citizen of São José||Municipality of São José dos Campos|
|Citizen of Curitiba||Municipality of Curitiba|
|Citizen of Sorocaba||Municipality of Sorocaba|
|"Milton Martins Merit"||Parauapebas Municipal Chamber|
|Asteroid 38245 Marcospontes||Cristóvão Jaques - International Astronomical Union|
|Hero of the Russian Federation||Russian Federation|
|Yuri Gagarin Medal||Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center|
|UNO Ambassador for Industrial Development - UNIDO||United Nations Industrial Development Organization|
|World Ambassador of Professional Education||WorldSkills International||2008|
|Ambassador for Scientific and Technologic Education in Brazil||FIRST Foundation|
|Distinct Graduation||Naval Postgraduate School (US Navy)|
|Commander of Peace of Reserve Forces||International Committee for Peace|
|Blue Beret Honoris Causa||United Nations|
|Prize Galactic Patrol||World Embassy of Peace, Geneva Embassy, Switzerland|
|"Castillo De Oro"||Military School of Aviation "Tgral. German Busch", Bolivia|
|"Aeronautic Merit - Great Master of the Order"||Bolivian Air Force|
|Honorary Member||Astronomic Network of Colombia|
|International Personality - Golden Medal||French Academic Society of Arts, Science and Letters|
- Timeline of space travel by nationality
- Brazilian Space Agency
- National Institute for Space Research (INPE)
- Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA)
- University of São Paulo (USP)
- Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA)
- Pontes, Marcos Cesar - Brazil (Spacefacts.de)
- Gonçalves, Carolina (October 28, 2018). "Bolsonaro confirma quatro ministros para seu governo" (in Portuguese). Agência Brasil. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "Astronauta Marcos Pontes diz que aceitou convite para ser ministro de Ciência e Tecnologia" (in Portuguese). G1. October 30, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- Fundação Astronauta Marcos Pontes - Biografia
- Emerson Kimura (2009). "Made in Brazil O Brasil na Estação Espacial Internacional" (in Portuguese). Gizmodo Brazil. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- Fundação Astronauta Marcos Pontes - Atividades
- Fundação Astronauta Marcos Pontes
- Agência Marcos Pontes
- Marcos Palhares
- Webpage Astronauta Marcos Pontes Livros Publicados
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marcos Pontes|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcos Pontes.|
- NASA website biography of Pontes
- Brazil, Russia Agree To Send Brazilian Cosmonaut To Space
- Brazil's President In Moscow Signs Deal For Joint Space Mission
- Spacefacts biography of Marcos Pontes
- Air Force Technological Institute (ITA)
- Brazilian Space Agency
- Marcos Pontes' official website (flash required) (in Portuguese)[dead link]
- Research developed in the USA through the Brazilian Air Force
| Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation