Marcos Cezar PONTES
Lieutenant Colonel, Brazil Air Force,
Astronaut, Brazilian Space Agency,
1-st Brazilian Astronaut
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: Born March 11, 1963, in Bauru, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
EDUCATION: In 1984 he graduated from the Brazil Air Force Academy in Pirassununga, Sao Paulo, received a bachelor of science in aeronautical technology. In 1993 he received a bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering from the Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica, Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, and in 1998 he completed studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and received a master of science degree in Systems Engineering.
FAMILY STATUS: Married, has two children.
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and Santos Dumont Medal.
Graduated with Distinction from the Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica and the Naval Postgraduate School. Received the Space and Aeronautics Institute Award and EMBRAER (Empresa Brazileira de Aeronautica) Award in 1994 for Test Pilot Training and the Air Force University Award in 1995.
Weight lifting, soccer, guitar and piano, sketching, watercolor painting.
In 1984 he became a pilot, Brazil Air Force. After one year of the advanced jet training in the Instruction Aviation Group, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, he was assigned to the Strike Aviation Group, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul. As a military pilot, he was qualified as an instructor for Ground Attack missions and Attack’s Advanced Air Controlling. As a Flight Safety Officer, he was engaged in aeronautical accident investigation for 14 years. From 1989 to 1993 he attended Aeronautical Engineering course, followed by a one year Test Pilot course. As a test pilot he worked on weapons development, conducted missile tests and provided the aircraft evaluation. He is one of the most experienced Brazilian pilots. He has logged over 1.900 flight hours in more than 20 different aircraft, including F-15, F-16, F-18 and MIG-29. In 1996, he was assigned to the Naval Postgraduate School. When he graduated from this School he was selected for the astronaut program.
In August 1998, he reported to the Johnson Space Center to attend Astronaut Training. Pontes completed this training course in 2000 as a mission specialist.
It was proposed that M. Pontes will perform his first space flight on Shuttle in 2001 under the ISS construction program. Then the flight was postponed to 2003. After the Columbia Shuttle catastrophe in February 2003 they had to change the date. When waiting for a flight he worked in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch.
On September 2, 2005 an agreement about scientific and technical cooperation between Brazil and Russia was signed including the space exploration cooperation that gave M. Pontes a capability to perform a long-expected flight.
He is currently training as a member of the Increment crew (VC-10) as a space flight participant.