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Air Force Officer to Become First Brazilian in Space


A Brazilian air force officer will become his nation's first person in space when he joins a Russian and American crew bound for the International Space Station.

Brazil's Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Pontes told reporters in Russia Wednesday that he is nearing the end of his training at the space center in Star City, near Moscow.

The mission is to begin March 30.

Colonel Pontes is to travel to the space station with Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams.

The Brazilian will spend about a week at the space station before returning to Earth with the station's current occupants, American William McArthur and Russian Valery Tokarev.

That crew has manned the space station since October, 2005.

Brazil and Russia agreed to the space station mission last October.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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