Space fashion - Virgin Galactic and Under Armour unveils spacewear for private astronauts

The Virgin Group has a longheld reputation for being audacious. From record stores to airlines, the brand led by British businessman Sir Richard Branson has consistently redefined expectation on how things are done. If all goes to plan, its latest venture, Virgin Galactic, could literally be out of this world.

In January 2019, Virgin announced that sportswear brand, Under Armour will be Virgin Galactic's Technical Spacewear Partner. This week in New York, Branson and Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank, unveiled the colaboratively designed spacewear system for Virgin Galactic astronauts. The system comprises of a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit and Limited Edition astronaut jacket, and is the first such collection ever created specifically for private astronauts.

The design combines comfort and utility, matched by the ultimate focus on customer 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.

The suit design concepts had inputs from doctors, astronaut trainers, pilots, apparel and footwear designers, engineers and Future Astronaut customers. Safety was also a key element of the design, underlining the choice of material 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. It is also complemented by training suits which will help to optimise the effectiveness of astronaut preparation in the days immediately before spaceflight.

Virgin Galactic is the world's first commercial space line and the system 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.

According to Kevin Plank, “Virgin Galactic gave us an exciting challenge to build the world’s first commercial spacesuit. 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.”

Richard Branson also added that , “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. 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. 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.”

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