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Brazil 'will benefit' from trip to space

Posted by sim_james on 2006.04.10 at 13:20
Current Location: São Paulo
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Brazil's first astronaut said from aboard the international space station that Brazilians will benefit from his historic trip to space.

Marcos Pontes, who blasted into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on March 29, made the comments in an interview with Brazilian media, his last before returning to Earth on Saturday.

"Can you imagine how many young Brazilians will become motivated to learn about science and technology," he said. "Brazil has a lot to gain, not only now, in the future."

The 43-year-old Brazilian has been featured daily on Brazilian TV news broadcasts and in newspaper pages. The Brazilian flag he waved in the capsule was seen as a symbol of pride to most Brazilians.

In 1997, Brazil joined the 15 nations involved in the International Space Station Project. A year later, Pontes was picked for the flight by NASA and the Brazilian Space Agency.

Pontes' trip was met with criticism by some Brazilians because it reportedly cost the Brazilian Space Agency $US10 million ($A13.8 million).

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