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First Astronaut: Brazil Welcomed at the Exclusive Space Club

Brazil’s first astronaut blasted off from earth on a cloudless day today with a Russia-US crew bound for the orbiting International Space Station.

Marcos Pontes (43), a Brazilian Air Force pilot, was hunched inside the spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and US astronaut Jeffrey Williams, both of whom were starting a six-month rotation in space. Onboard cameras showed Pontes, who had a window seat, giving a thumbs-up.

Pontes, who packed a Brazilian flag and football team shirt, returns to earth in 10 days with the outgoing crew, American Bill McArthur and Russian Valery Tokarev.

Pontes had said on Wednesday that he was taking the flag and jersey in the hope it would bring his nation’s team victory in the forthcoming World Cup.

A leading Brazilian TV channel that broadcast the footage of the launch in Latin America, said it marked Brazil’s entrance in the elite club of space powers.

Russian experts are currently helping Brazil build a space center in Alcântara, on Brazil’s Atlantic coast, while the country is planning to design its own carrier rocket based on Russian space technologies to launch satellites into orbit.

The mission, which is costing Brazil about US$ 10 million, comes less than three years after Brazil’s space program met with disaster when a rocket exploded on the launch pad.

The explosion of the first Brazilian rocket built to take satellites killed 21 people at the site in the north of the country.

The program of the new ISS mission includes a plasma crystal experiment, and technological, medical, and biological experiments. Astronauts will also make one space walk under the Russian program and two under the American one.

However, the new ISS crew will make something of a departure from the customary agenda of technical work and scientific experiment by indulging in a spot of golf, bringing back memories of Alan Shepherd’s shots on the Moon in the early 1970s.

"This will be an attempt to tee off a ball into open space using an ordinary club," Pavel Vinogradov told journalists in the run-up to the launch. "I have never played golf myself, but have practiced with Jeffrey a couple of times."

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Guest

    Boo
    “..American astronauts who died furthering a true space program. ” There is no such thing as “American space program” – Russians are the ONLY nation who can send people into orbit and return them back to Earth in one piece. Americans are too cheap to build new space crafts, so they keep ” refurbishing” 20-30 years old junk, Airborn Mass Graves – the shuttles, and are too dumb to invent something at least 50% as reliable as legendary Soyuz. So, there is no point to blame Brazilians for being excited about their first cosmonaut, at least they tried to build their own rocket before to really become a space nation, and the results were as shity as when americans trying to launch people into space – shit blows apart. Now the ONLY space nation – Russians, will help Brazil to build their own Space Center and will teach brazilians how to fly – give them 7-10 years. National Anal Sex Association (NASA) is a sick joke on its own. There is no Russo-American Space station, the ISS is International Space Station and it was build for everybody by 16 countries. Americans, if necessary, can be denied access there at any time, if Russians will refuse to take next yankee there.

  • Guest

    This is typical Brazilian behavior! They are actually just signed on as “payload participants” according to NASA and Russia. Let others do the work then try to steal their thunder. . . I’m surprised the media isn’t telling Brazilians that Lula himself designed the ISS. What a crock of shit!

  • Guest

    SICK JOKE!
    “A leading Brazilian TV channel that broadcast the footage of the launch in Latin America, said it marked Brazil’s entrance in the elite club of space powers.”

    Is this supposed to be some kind of sick joke . . . The last time Brazil tried to even hit the stratosphere 21 people died and that was on the ground. That they have the nerve to declare Brazil a “space power” is an insult to the American astronauts who died furthering a true space program. Brazil has an astronaut who is hitching a ride to the predominately Russo-American space station and now they are a space power – what a fucking joke!!!!

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