My professional life started at 14 years old as an apprentice electrician. In the Air Force I worked as a test pilot, flight safety specialist, engineer, and leadership instructor. In 1998, I was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist. In 2006, I flew to the International Space Station onboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-8 as part of ISS Expedition-13 crew. After 10 days in space, working on systems maintenance and research, I became the first Brazilian Astronaut and the first professional astronaut to officially represent a South Hemisphere country in space.
After my first flight, besides astronaut and UN goodwill ambassador jobs, I had leadership activities in the private sector and helped to inspire others through teaching, by sharing my personal and professional experience.
In 2018, I was appointed as Minister of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications.