Under Armour and Virgin Galactic unveiled its designs for the upcoming spacesuit that passengers aboard the space company’s commercial flight to Earth’s low-orbit atmosphere will be wearing in 2020.
Richard Branson, the company’s founder, and CEO made the announcement together with Under Armour last Wednesday for media and investors at an indoor skydiving facility near New York City — with dancers and acrobatics wearing the clothes while performing stunts.
The companies are saying that the latest designs are part of the full line of space gear private astronauts will be able to wear. The collection includes the spacesuit, a training suit, footwear, and even a limited edition jacket.
Based on the spacecraft Virgin Galactic is currently developing, it will be able to carry six passengers aboard a single trip, including the pilot and co-pilot. The crew will then launch to the edge of space, where passengers will be able to experience the weightlessness on the zero-gravity atmosphere for 10 minutes before gliding back down to land on Earth.
Under Armour said that the design of the spacewear included input from astronaut trainers, pilots, doctors, and more. As part of the private space experience, each spacesuit will be personally tailored to each Virgin Galactic passenger and will include national flags and name badges.
In terms of practicality, Under Armour says its spacesuits are made from a variety of materials that Virgin Galactic says were tested in labs designed to simulate the various stages of space flight.
Overall, Plank noted at the event that, despite the unconventional design as compared to NASA spacesuits, there’s nothing particularly exceptional about the suits. They’re built using off-the-shelf Under Armour technologies and designed for comfort. They also have a number of “secret pockets” on board, so passengers can take personal belongings with them on the flight.
Virgin Galactic “mission specialists,” such as chief astronaut trainer Beth Moses, will wear the Under Armour spacesuit on the company’s remaining crewed test flights.
For the average Joe, it may also be possible in the future to have a piece of the potentially historic commercial space flight as Plank also said Under Armour plans to monetize this initiative by making more space-related gear available to the public for purchase in the future. Virgin Galactic-branded t-shirts went for sale on Under Armour’s website on Wednesday, he said.
Virgin Galactic is in the final stages of testing its spacecraft, with just a couple of flights remaining. The company had a backlog of 603 customers as of the end of June. More than 600 people from 58 countries, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber, have paid or put down deposits to fly on one of Virgin’s suborbital flights. Some of Virgin Galactic’s ticket holders have been waiting over 14 years for their trip.
A ticket for a Virgin Galactic flight goes for about $250,000 per person, including the spacesuit, of course.
Finally, the chance and wait to fly and experience space may soon come to an end as the company plans to begin flying commercial flights in 2020, with Branson expected to fly on the first one.
“It’s feeling very real, very exciting, very close,” Branson said.