Virgin Galactic has unveiled the spacesuits its pilots will wear when they fly private astronauts into space.
The Virgin Galactic Pilot Corps team will don the spacesuit and footwear on future flights, including the upcoming third test flight scheduled for sometime on or beyond 11 December 2020. (See below for the latest update).
Virgin designed the suits in collaboration with sportswear company Under Armour.
The non-pressurised suit is lightweight at just over one kilogram and consists of flight-grade fabrics to ensure it is robust and strong. The spacesuit is optimised for comfort in all stages of flight, whether that be during boost when acceleration forces press the pilots backwards into their seats, or in zero gravity where cushioning on the shoulders provides comfort as pilots are held in positions by seat straps. Fabrics which form the spacesuit also help to regulate body temperature, whether outside in the New Mexico sunshine or during the various phases of flight.
The individually tailored spacesuits feature a black panel and the Virgin Galactic pilot wings emblem to distinguish them from Virgin Galactic’s customers.
Virgin Galactic Pilot Spacesuit designed in collaboration with Under Armour | 2020 © Virgin Galactic
Wearing the spacesuit on the upcoming payload flight will be Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and Pilot CJ Sturckow. Sturckow will be the first person to fly to space from three different US States. They are both members of the eight-person team in the Virgin Galactic Pilot Corps.
Randall Harward, Under Armour’s SVP of Material and Manufacturing Innovation, said the suits have been developed for “comfort, support, movement and temperature management”.
Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson and Under Armour revealed the Future Astronaut spacewear suits at an event in New York in 14 months ago.
Lead image: Virgin Galactic Pilot, James Janjua | 2020 © Virgin Galactic