Under Armour designed spacesuits to provide comfort in zero-gravity tourism - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Oct. 16, 2019 6:33 pm

Under Armour designed spacesuits to provide comfort in zero-gravity tourism

The Baltimore brand debuted the suits on Wednesday for commercial space flights being planned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. The mission: "Define the future of spacewear."
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank (center) shows off the new suits.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank (center) shows off the new suits.

(Courtesy photo)

Under Armour has outfitted plenty of high fliers. With its latest line, the Baltimore brand is literally going to its highest altitude yet.

On Wednesday, UA and Virgin Galactic unveiled new spacesuits that are part of the launch sequence for a new space tourism program next year. The suits were introduced in New York at an event that featured a vertical catwalk, showing off their ability in zero-gravity.

“I love the way the spacewear looks and I love the way it feels,” said Sir Richard Branson, the famed mogul helming Virgin Galactic. “I also love the fact that the next time I put it on, I will be on my way to space.”

As announced in January, UA teamed with the Branson-helmed quest to make commercial space flight a reality. The Baltimore company is the “Exclusive Technical Spacewear Partner” on the effort, which includes the suit, footwear and training.

“At Under Armour, we pride ourselves on always getting better and leaning into innovation to drive progress for our athletes, but few things can prepare you for a project as challenging and exciting as this one. Spaceflight is a unique and demanding regime and requires a different approach,” Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said in a statement. “What we’ve engineered utilizing our key technologies will define the future of spacewear and puts us at the forefront of this history-making event.”

Space suits in zero gravity. (Courtesy photo)

Space suits in zero gravity. (Courtesy photo)

For the suit itself, UA looked to combine classic spacesuit elements that call back both to real flights and those in movies, with a host of new fabrics and technologies. A focus was on comfort, as well as functionality and safety. The UA team tested the suits and collected feedback from Virgin Galactic pilots, spaceship engineers, medical officers, astronaut instructors and the customer experience team members.

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Here’s a look at how the “system” works:

  • The base layer — This “second skin” has features to enhance blood flow in zero gravity and temperature regulation.
  • The spacesuit — Designed in shades of blue, the suit includes a material called UA Clone that forms to the body at key joints, and has a series of new fabrics for temperature control and, this being UA, moisture management.
  • Footwear — The space boots drew inspiration from those worn by race car drivers as well as its own sneakers. Using some of the same technologies found elsewhere on the suit, there’s also features from UA HOVR sneakers for cushioning.
  • Personalization — The suits will be tailored for each flight participant. Plus, there are name and country badges, and pockets for personal effects and photos.

Yes, if you pay $250,000 for a ride on a space plane, you get to keep the suit.

Companies: Under Armour
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