Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson and Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank announced a collaboration that saw Under Armour become Virgin Galactic’s Technical Spacewear Partner. The companies unveil the collaboratively designed spacewear system for Virgin Galactic astronauts comprising of a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit, and Limited Edition astronaut jacket. It is the first such collection ever created specifically for private astronauts.
The design of astronaut apparel is a unique combination of the requirement for comfort and utility matched by the ultimate focus on customer experience. Every element of the Virgin Galactic customer journey is designed to enrich the profound and transformative qualities of the human spaceflight experience.
For Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts, that life-changing, personal experience is eagerly anticipated and the newly unveiled spacewear has been specifically designed to support it. “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.”
This announcement signals From the initial brief through to final fabrication, the suit design concepts were defined through inputs from a wide variety of experts, including doctors, astronaut trainers, pilots, apparel and footwear designers, engineers, and Future Astronaut customers, to fully understand and address all requirements.
Safety is Virgin Galactic’s North Star and underlined the choice of materials and other key design considerations. The spacesuit is made from lightweight flight-grade fabrics, with cushioning in elbows, knees and in the footwear, to provide safety in out-of-seat zero gravity. The spacesuits are complemented by training suits which will help to optimize the effectiveness of astronaut preparation in the days immediately before spaceflight. The spacewear materials have been rigorously tested in laboratory conditions that match the measured environment at all stages of spaceflight. The system will also be worn by Virgin Galactic Mission Specialists on board VSS Unity’s crewed test spaceflights, prior to commercial flights which are currently expected to commence in 2020.