Later this month, Virgin Galactic will launch its first-ever commercial spaceflight, ferrying private astronauts (those who aren’t affiliated with a governmental agency) into suborbital space. The mission will be the first to reach space from New Mexico’s Spaceport America, “the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport,” and will bring Virgin Galactic, and the industry at-large, one step closer to its ultimate goal: space tourism for private citizens, priced at $250,000 a head.
If that reality has always felt far off in the future — no doubt because the likes of Richard Branson and Elon Musk have been promising commercial outer space travel for decades now — some recent specs from Virgin Galactic might make the prospect feel more real. Over the weekend, the company released photos of its Pilot Corps wearing new, official uniforms, which were designed as part of a collaboration with sportswear brand Under Armour.
While the pairing might seem unlikely — the brand makes a great half-zip, sure, but can it really outfit a trip to the thermosphere? — the Senior Vice President of Advanced Material and Manufacturing Innovation at Under Armour, Randall Harward, explained to Dezeen that the project boiled down to basic performance tenets Under Armour is already well acquainted with: “… comfort, support, movement and temperature management.”
Each suit weighs just over two pounds, is tailored to the exact specifications of the pilot wearing it, and is constructed from a durable material, with cushioning in strategic locations throughout. For instance, the shoulders feature padding meant to protect against the force experienced during takeoff, and mitigate the discomfort of wearing tight straps. At the end of the day, these aren’t exactly “spacesuits,” exactly, but official uniforms. Virgin Galactic pilots won’t actually leave their aircraft.
Still, they’re good-looking ones at that, crisp and classic in a navy blue colorway, with badges on the left breast and arm. Quite the come-up for the makers of your favorite running top.
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