Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic and Kevin Plank the founder and CEO of Under Armour (an American clothing apparel company), has announced a collaboration to produce ‘Technical Spacewear’.
The spacewear system is the first-ever collection created specifically for private astronauts and was launched in New York on a zero-gravity, vertical catwalk, led by Sir Richard Branson in the spacesuit he will wear on Virgin Galactic’s inaugural commercial spaceflight.
The spacewear comprises a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit and Limited Edition astronaut jacket.
While developing the products, Under Armour consulted various experts including doctors, engineers, pilots, astronaut trainers, shoe designers and future astronauts.
Our Future Astronauts played a key role in helping to create our @UnderArmour spacesuits. Here two of them explain how they felt seeing the suits for the first time. https://t.co/wt4DtfmUn8 pic.twitter.com/g54kV4nOSt
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 17, 2019
Richard Branson said that Under Armour’s designs “surpassed our expectations.”
“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.”
According to a statement from Virgin Galactic, 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 spacewear materials were ‘rigorously tested in laboratory conditions which match the measured environment at all stages of spaceflight’.
The spacesuits will be worn by the crew onboard VSS Unity’s test spaceflights, before the commercial flights, which are expected to commence in 2020, begin.
“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. “Requirements for astronaut spacewear as we enter the second space age are evolving, but the design challenge has not diminished.”
Images: Virgin Galactic/supplied