16 October 2019

Virgin Galactic Partners With Under Armour to Unveil the World's First Exclusive Spacewear System For Private Astronauts

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EW YORK, Oct. 16, 2019 – In January 2019, Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson and Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank announced a collaboration which saw Under Armour become Virgin Galactic’s Technical Spacewear Partner. Today, the companies unveiled the collaboratively designed spacewear system for Virgin Galactic astronauts comprising of a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit and Limited Edition astronaut jacket. It is the first such collection ever created specifically for private astronauts.

The design of astronaut apparel is a unique combination of the requirement for comfort and utility matched by the ultimate focus on customer experience. Every element of the Virgin Galactic customer journey is designed to enrich the profound and transformative qualities of the human spaceflight 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.

“Virgin Galactic gave us an exciting challenge to build the world’s first commercial spacesuit,” said Kevin Plank. “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.”From the initial brief through to final fabrication, the suit design concepts were defined through inputs from a wide variety of experts, including doctors, astronaut trainers, pilots, apparel and footwear designers, engineers and Future Astronaut customers, to fully understand and address all requirements.Safety is Virgin Galactic’s North Star and underlined the choice of materials 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. The spacesuits are complemented by training suits which will help to optimize the effectiveness of astronaut preparation in the days immediately before spaceflight. The spacewear materials have been rigorously tested in laboratory conditions which match the measured environment at all stages of spaceflight. The system will also 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.

Spacesuits will be personally tailored for each astronaut; a great fit combined with bold and progressive aesthetics provide the first visible evidence of a journey of transformation, inspiring self-confidence and self-assuredness. While immediately identifying wearers as astronauts and as part of a mission, the spacesuits also provide differentiated features that recognize and celebrate each astronaut’s personal journey. Country flags and name badges build on traditions of the past, while suit pockets dedicated to personal effects include an inside transparent pocket for photographs of loved ones, who will literally be close to the heart.Comfort has always been fundamental to Under Armour’s approach to performance enhancement and the new spacewear system follows this mantra, informing fabric choice, structure and fit.  Temperature management, for example, is regulated by performance fibers and knit density, mapped to the body to provide perfect warmth and moisture management, while preventing overheating or chilling.  Great care has also been taken to ensure the spacewear design is fully woven into cabin design, in particular with the spaceship’s seats where integration with harnesses and seat contours ensures comfort, particularly during the high G portions of flight.

The unveil event in New York showcased the spacewear system on a zero gravity, vertical catwalk, led by Sir Richard Branson in the spacesuit he will wear on Virgin Galactic’s inaugural commercial spaceflight.Richard Branson said: “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.”

For downloadable assets from today’s announcement please visit:

 Virgin Galactic Press FTP Under Armour Newsroom 

CONTACTS

 Ollie Pratt, virgingalactic@fticonsulting.com +44 7807 295691Aleanna Crane, VirginGalacticPress@virgingalactic.com +44 7395604549Diane Pelkey, dpelkey@underarmour.com  617-256-4541 

About Virgin Galactic

 Virgin Galactic is a vertically-integrated aerospace company pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers. It believes the commercial exploration of space represents one of the most exciting and significant technology initiatives of our time. It is embarking on this commercial exploration journey with a mission to put humans into space and return them safely to earth on a routine, consistent and affordable basis. Using its proprietary and reusable technologies, and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a spaceflight that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space. It is in the final stages of development, having already completed two crewed flights of its vehicle into space, and anticipates initial commercial launch in 2020.  

ABOUT UNDER ARMOUR

 Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland is a leading inventor, marketer and distributor of branded performance athletic apparel, footwear and accessories. Designed to make all athletes better, the brand’s innovative products are sold worldwide to consumers with active lifestyles. The company’s Connected Fitness™ platform powers the world’s largest digitally connected health and fitness community. For further information, please visit:  https://about.underarmour.com/

GEORGE WHITESIDES

GEORGE WHITESIDES

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR

George T. Whitesides is the Chair of the Space Advisory Board, where he is responsible for bringing together aerospace leaders to advise the Virgin Galactic senior management team on the journey towards regular commercial spaceflight, developing the next generation vehicles and exploring new opportunities. Previously, George served as the Chief Space Officer of Virgin Galactic, spearheading the development of future technologies, including high speed, point-to-point travel and orbital flight, after stepping down as CEO in 2020.

George joined Virgin Galactic in 2010 as Chief Executive Officer. During George’s 10 years with the Company, he built the company from 30 people to a workforce of over 900, successfully guiding Virgin Galactic through its human space flight R&D and flight test program, culminating in two space flights. These historic flights saw the first humans launched into space from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, as well as the first woman to fly on a commercial space vehicle. George led the transition of operations from Mojave, California to Spaceport America, New Mexico, and oversaw the company’s successful public listing making it a multi-billion dollar company and creating the world’s first publicly traded human spaceflight venture.

Prior to Virgin Galactic, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA. Upon departure from the American space agency, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers.

George’s volunteer service includes Caltech’s Space Innovation Council, Princeton University’s Advisory Council for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Antelope Valley Economic Development & Growth Enterprise. He is a fellow of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He previously served as Vice Chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, chair of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of Virgin Galactic, a member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton University, co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies, and the Board of Virgin Unite USA. George has testified on American space policy before the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. An honors graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, George later earned a master’s degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Tunisia. George is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.

He resides in California with his wife Loretta and two children.

CHRIS HADFIELD

CHRIS HADFIELD

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Colonel Chris Hadfield is a heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and test pilot who has commanded the International Space Station. Formerly NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia and veteran of three spaceflights, Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. Hadfield is a three-time NYT bestselling author, a renowned musician, an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, chair of the board of the Open Lunar Foundation, and host of several internationally acclaimed television series. In addition, Hadfield leads the space stream at the Creative Destruction Lab, one of the world’s top tech incubators.

DR SANDRA MAGNUS

DR SANDRA MAGNUS

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Principal at AstroPlanetview, LLC. Most recently she served as the Deputy Director of Engineering in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the Undersecretary of Research and Engineering. In that role she served as the “Chief Engineer” for the Department of Defense establishing engineering policy, propagating best practices and working to connect the engineering community across the department.

Dr. Magnus is the former Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Prior to leading AIAA, she was a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps for 16 years. During her time at NASA she flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board.

Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station.

Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal R&D and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program.

Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).

DAVID A. WHELAN

DAVID A. WHELAN

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Dr. David A. Whelan is the SVP Chief-Scientist of Cubic Corporation. Dr. Whelan retired from Boeing in 2017, as the Vice President, Engineering (BDS) and Board of Directors for HRL Laboratories. Whelan served as Director of the Tactical Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and began his career at Northrop as designer of the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Whelan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Physical Society and IEEE. He earned his Ph.D. Physics from UCLA; He holds over 75 US patents.