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Richard Branson unveils Under Armour spacesuits for Virgin Galactic astronauts

James Leggate

Since the dawn of time, mankind has gazed upon the stars and wondered, “What should I wear?”

Now, the future private astronauts of Virgin Galactic have their answer. The space company and Under Armour unveiled their collaboratively designed “spacewear system” this week.

The gear includes a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit, and a jacket. It’s made with lightweight “flight-grade” fabrics. The spacesuit features cushioning on the elbows, knees, and feet.

Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, said Under Armour’s designs “surpassed our expectations.”

“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,” Branson said. “Requirements for astronaut spacewear as we enter the second space age are evolving, but the design challenge has not diminished.”

The companies said the design of the apparel combines the needs for comfort and utility for those working in outer space. They consulted with various experts like doctors, astronaut trainers, pilots, shoe designers, engineers, and future astronauts.

“Virgin Galactic gave us an exciting challenge to build the world’s first commercial spacesuit,” Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank said. “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.”

The spacewear has been tested in labs and will be used by Virgin Galactic test crews ahead of its commercial flights, which could start in 2020, according to the company.

Spacesuits will be tailored for each astronaut and personalized with flags and name badges, as well as a transparent pocket for photos of loved ones.

“I love the way the spacewear looks and I love the way it feels,” Branson said. “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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Virgin Galactic is preparing to take passengers on flights to the edge of space aboard a spacecraft it calls SpaceShipTwo. Tickets cost about $250,000 for a 2.5-hour ride, and the company said earlier this month that 600 people had already reserved trips.

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