In an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the President of the Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira, AEB), Sérgio Gaudenzi, informed that Brazil hopes to have its first astronaut/cosmonaut in space next year aboard a Russian Soyuz space craft in one of Soyuz’s trip to the International Space Station (ISS).
Russia’s Space Agency (RKA) has invited the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Eduardo Campos and Gaudenzi to visit Russia next month, so both countries can discuss details of a possible joint space mission.
According to Novosti, Russia and Brazil agreed in principle that Russia would help in a first Brazilian astronaut’s flight to the ISS. These preliminary talks occurred during a recent visit to Brazil of a Russian Space Agency delegation led by Agency deputy chief Viktor Remishevsky.
Cost might be a factor in the venture. While a commercial flight on a Soyuz rocket costs US$ 20 million in average, Brazil expects this fee will be considerably reduced for its astronaut, Air Force Lieutenant Coronel, Marcos C. Pontes, who has trained with NASA’s astronauts in the United States.
“Brazilian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Marcos C. Pontes has undergone relevant training at NASA and is prepared to take a course in Russia’s Stellar City (Moscow region),” said Gaudenzi.
“Colonel Pontes is ready to take a course in Russia’s Stellar City,” said Gaudenzi. “To take a Soyuz flight he has to learn to speak Russian, and Pontes is very enthusiastic about it. He said he would work hard while taking a course of training for Russian cosmonauts and promised to start speaking Russian in six months,”
In its interview to Novosti, Gaudenzi also talked about how grateful Brazil is for the help Russian scientists are willing to give Brazil to develop a new booster for the Brazilian space program and equip the rocket with a liquid propulsion engine.
For Gaudenzi, cooperation with Russia is of strategic importance for Brazil’s space industry.
“Modernizing the VLS booster with the help of Russian technology will allow to update the engine and raise the payload to 800 kg at the second stage.The third stage envisages the installation of a compound engine, and the payload will be raised to 1.5 tons. This will allow to place satellites to the geostationary earth orbit,” said the AEB chief to the Russian news agency.