The International Space Station draws upon the resources and the scientific and technological expertise of 16 cooperating nations, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and 11 participating member nations of the European Space Agency - Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In addition, Brazil and Italy have signed on as payload participants.
Under the direction of the Brazilian Space Agency, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) in San Jose dos Campos is providing six items that in essence constitute attachments devices and a pallet on which experiments and equipment will ride in Space Shuttle missions to the ISS. Brazil's Technology Experiment Facility will provide long-term space exposure for selected experiments, while its Window Observation Research Facility 2 will be devoted to observation and remote sensing development.
Marcos Pontes, a Major in the Brazilian Air Force, is a Mission Specialist astronaut for the Brazilian Space Agency. Pontes graduated as a military pilot from the Brazil Air Force Academy, Pirassununga, Sao Paulo, in 1984. After one year of advanced jet training at the 2/5 Instruction Aviation Group, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, he was assigned to 3/10 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, his work experience included 4 years in aeronautical accident investigation. 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, missile tests and aircraft evaluation. He has logged over 1,700 flight hours in more than 20 different aircraft, including F-15, F-16, F18 and MIG-29. In 1996, he was assigned to the Naval Postgraduate School. Pontes graduated from Naval Postgraduate School when he was selected for the astronaut program.
In August 1998, he reported to the Johnson Space Center to attend Astronaut Candidate Training which includes orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Pontes is currently assigned to the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. He will serve in technical assignments until assigned to a space flight.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|