ASTRONAUT, BRAZILIAN SPACE AGENCY
- Liceu Noroeste High School and SENAI, Bauru, São Paulo;
- Military pilot and bachelor of science in aeronautical technology from the Brazil Air Force Academy, Pirassununga, Sao Paulo.
- Advanced jet training at the 2/5 Instruction Aviation Group, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, assigned to 3/10 Strike Aviation Group, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul.
- Bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering, from the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, São José dos Campos, São Paulo,
- Test Pilot course
- Master of science degree in Systems Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
- In 1998 Pontes was selected for the NASA class 17 of astronauts.
As a military pilot, he was qualified as an instructor and squadron leader for Ground Attack missions. As a Flight Safety Officer, his work experience included 22 years in aeronautical accident prevention and investigation. His experience on Flight Safety includes participation on the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident investigation. As a test pilot he worked on weapons development, missiles, including the first Brazilian air-to-air missile, and several aircraft tests and evaluation. He has logged over 2,000jet and test flight hours in more than 20 different aircraft, including F-15,F-16, F18 and MIG-29. As a Technical Consultant, he works on concept development, systems design, and project management for the aerospace, energy,and transport sectors.
Selected as a mission specialist, he reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1998 to attend Astronaut Training which included 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 was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. As an engineer and project manager, Pontes has worked in several space related projects, including the International Space Station Japanese Experimental Module, the centrifuge accommodation module, Brazilian flight support equipment development, etc.
Pontes is the first professional Brazilian astronaut to go into space. He launched with the Expedition-13 crew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 29, 2006 aboard a Soyuz TMA spacecraft, docking with the station on March 31, 2006, where he lived and worked for the next 8-days. Pontes returned to Earth with the Expedition-12 crew landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan in their Soyuz spacecraft on April 8, 2006.
Currently, Astronaut Pontes works as a Professor at the Aeronautics Engineering Division of the University of São Paulo (USP-SC), Researcher at the Advanced Studies Institute (USP-SC), Institutional Relations for the Brazilian Space Agency(AEB), and also, at the private sector companies, as a Technical Consultant,and Life/Executive coach. He is the CEO for MP Engineering Company, the Coordinator of the Space Science Interdisciplinary Laboratories Association(ALICE) Project, and the Director of Space Technology at the National Institute for Space and Aeronautics Development (IDEA)
He continues on stand-by, as an astronaut for future Brazilian space flights.