Space Travel: What will you wear?
“I love the way the spacewear looks, and I love the way it feels. I also love the fact that the next time I put it on, I will be on my way to space.” These are the words of Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic.
This week in New York, the American apparel company, Under Armour, unveiled the designs that will be worn by the 600 prospective space tourists who purchased $200,000 tickets to be a passenger on Virgin Galactic’s inaugural commercial spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic partnered with Under Armour in January to create a line of spacesuits designed to be worn by future passengers of SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spaceplane.
Richard Branson and other models took to a zero gravity, vertical catwalk to showcase the royal blue designs, which are comprised of a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit, and Limited Edition astronaut jacket.
The garments, which were tested in labs designed to simulate the various stages of space flight, were designed in collaboration with a wide variety of experts including doctors, astronaut trainers, pilots, apparel and footwear designers, engineers, and Future Astronaut customers in order to ensure they met all the requirements of a mission to space.
Virgin Galactic x Under Armour spacesuit
Before they are worn by the general public, the suits will also be tested by Virgin Galactic Mission Specialists on board VSS Unity’s crewed test spaceflights. This will be prior to being used on the commercial flights expected to commence in 2020.
“Virgin Galactic gave us an exciting challenge to build the world’s first commercial spacesuit,” said Kevin Plank. “Innovation is at the core of everything we do, and our team delivered a unique twist on the classic spacesuit utilizing both existing and new UA technologies to define space gear for the future. It is an incredible opportunity to showcase our key performance innovations in space at the highest level and continue to push the limits of human performance.”
The spacesuits will be personally tailored for each astronaut and personalized with country flags and name badges. They’ll even have a transparent pocket for photographs of loved ones, to be kept, literally, close to the heart.
“Spacesuits are a part of the iconography of the first space age; our visual impressions of human spaceflight and what astronauts wear are inextricably linked,” said Branson in a statement.
“Requirements for astronaut spacewear as we enter the second space age are evolving, but the design challenge has not diminished. We were delighted when Kevin and Under Armour stepped up to this task and they have surpassed our expectations.”