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Brazil, Russia Agree To Send Brazilian Cosmonaut To Space

Filel photo of Marcus Pontes.
Moscow (AFP) Oct 04, 2005
Brazil and Russia have reached tentative agreement on sending a Brazilian cosmonaut to space, possibly as early as April, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency was quoted as saying Tuesday by Russian news agencies.

"The Russian-Brazilian intergovernmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation has signed a tentative agreement" to send Brazilian cosmonaut Marcus Pontes to space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko said.

"It is possible that the actual contract will be signed soon."

That contract could be signed during a visit to Russia by Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva later this month, the reports said, quoting unnamed official sources.

Pontes will begin training at Russia's Star City, outside Moscow, for a flight in a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station after the deal is finalized.

The Brazilian cosmonaut has previously undertaken astronaut's training at the US space centre in Houston in 2002.

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Malaysians To Help Select First Astronaut
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (UPI) Sep 15, 2005
Malaysian citizens will reportedly be able to help choose their nation's first astronaut. Malaysia Science Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis said citizens will be able to choose from among a short list of candidates and then vote by text message, the BBC reported Wednesday.