A day after NASA debuted the space suits set to be worn by the first woman on the moon, Virgin Galactic showed of its own gear at an event in New York. Created in collaboration with fitness wear company, Under Armour, the gear is designed for wear by Virgin’s private astronauts.
The getup includes a limited edition jacket, base layer, training suit, footwear and space suit. The elements were created with “input” for a wide range of different people, including doctors, pilots, clothing designers and astronaut trainers. All were tested in labs designed to simulate the various stages of space flight.
The unveiling comes shortly after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson announced that crewed test flights will begin this year (with about 2.5 months left on the calendar).
Branson was present at this morning’s event, leading a simulated zero gravity vertical space walk in the suit. The billionaire will, naturally, be wearing the same suit on the private space company’s upcoming first commercial space flight. For other interested parties, the cost of the 90 minute space flight runs around $250,000. Late last year, Branson reported that the company had already collected some $80 million in deposits.
The blue suits mark a stark contrast from the more traditional garb unveiled at NASA’s event. Instead, they’re something closer to jet pilot jump suits (or, perhaps, an Under Armour tracksuit), tailored to the measurements of some of the 600 people who have signed up for the flight. The company debuted them at an event in a skydiving range, complete with with a fog machined-powered zero gravity ballet and interpretive dancing models with silver paint on their heads.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank noted at the event that, despite the Star Trek style look, 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.
Branson noted that he won’t be using them to take along a camera or smartphone, but instead “pictures of my grandchildren.”