In partnership with Under Armour, Virgin Galactic unveiled the commercial spacesuits its pilots will wear as they embark on life-changing journeys to outer space. The latest spacesuits are part of the astronaut apparel and space-wear system that the future Virgin Galactic crew will use on future space flights.
Earlier yesterday, Sir Richard Branson took a historic trip to the edge of space wearing the spacesuit. Watch the Livestream below too see the suits in action.
The design of the spacesuits
All the spacesuits have the same shades of blue and gold accents. However, black is added to the pilots’ spacesuits to make them distinguished. The pilots’ suits also include the Virgin Galactic wings emblem.
The suits feature panels above the feet, under the arms, and on the sides of the suit body. The lightweight flight-grade fabric weighs only around 1 KG and ensures that the crew is comfortable at all times during the flight, whether it’s taking off or floating around in zero-G. The shoulder, elbow, and feet padding make sure the crew remains comfortable when pressure pushes them into their seats during the flight.
The base layer
In the front, there’s UA Rush mineral-infused fabric that promotes recovery through increased blood flow, a high-stretch collar to eliminate neck seams, and UA intelliknit fibers to regulate body temperature. And in the back, there’s integrated seamless mesh venting, Virgin Galactic flight DNA symbols, and knit density mapped in specific areas to optimize the temperature.
In the front, a removable mission patch, the bright gold CGI print for optimum temperature, a flag badge on the left arm, integrated communication systems embedded in the sleeve, UA Clone quilted knee padding, Spinit (a mesh-like fabric for breathability), integrated push-button for in-flight communication, and a pocket on the right leg for personal items. And in the back, Tencel Luxe (for moisture management), UA clone quilted elbow pads, and a zipped pocket on the right.
The knitted fabrics of the spacesuit regulate the body’s temperature to ensure that the crew is comfortable outside in the sunshine and inside the spacecraft. The crew can perform all the essential tasks without worrying about the apparel. A single spacesuit covers them for a dynamic range of activities, including high-speed movements.
Under Armour’s SVP of Material and Manufacturing Innovation explained the design of the spacesuits saying: “A pilot’s flight suit has been refined over the decades to embody a certain undeniable look and function, but they also have to perform beyond expectations. We took that as a starting point and built in all of the Under Armour solutions we’ve developed for comfort, support, movement, and temperature management. Our goal was to build a suit that leaves a pilot – like any athlete – feeling confident and with zero distractions during a critical moment of performance. It’s been a fascinating journey.”
Last but not least, UA also designed pairing footwear with inspirations taken from race-car driver’s shoe design, which results in a lightweight, highly mobile footwear unlike previous footwear that we see (like heavy snow-boots).
The Space footwear used UA Clone technology to make the shoes fit like a glove, while the UA HOVR cushioning, one of the softest foams available, provides support for a functional, comfortable and flame-retardant piece of footwear. All distractions have been eliminated, resulting in a sleek, smooth, soft boot with nothing to snag on equipment or other Future Astronauts when floating in zero gravity.
Future Virgin Galactic flights will be taking a six-member crew on a suborbital flight to experience Earth from space in weightlessness. The flight costs $250,000 per member. Currently Virgin Galactic is looking to give out free tickets to lucky winners, enter for a ticket to space at https://www.virgingalactic.com/register.
We earlier did a past on superhuman exoskeletons. Learn how exoskeletons can give you superpowers.