Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic just answered a question about its planned commercial flights — what the astronauts are supposed to wear — with a branding opportunity.
The Virgin founder says he spacetech venture has partnered with sportswear maker Under Armour, which will design the spacesuits for Virgin astronauts, customers, and staff on the ground. Under Armour will also help Virgin craft physical training regiments for astronauts, according to press releases published by both companies on Thursday.
Virgin customers won't wear bulky Under Armour-branded spacesuits like at NASA. The designs haven't been made public, but a Virgin spokesperson told Bloomberg that the spacecraft's cabins will be pressurized so the suits don’t have to be.
Rather, the spokesperson said that outfits will cater to a shirt-sleeve environment, meaning an aircraft or spacecraft that doesn't call for specialized protective clothing, like a commercial flight. As such, it remains unclear how much protection the Under Armour suits will actually provide beyond the company's typical athleisure threads.
Infinity and Beyond
It's also possible that Under Armour will design boundary-pushing spacesuits that could catapult the company into being a major player in the spacetech market.
Virgin is currently running test flights, and according to the companies' press release, spacesuit designs will be released prior to the first commercial flights. Those are expected to occur later this year, according to Bloomberg. Until then, we'll have to wait and see.
READ MORE: Under Armour Is Blasting Off Into a New Market – Spacesuits [Bloomberg]
More on Virgin Galactic: Former NASA Astronaut: Virgin Galactic's Space Flights Are "Dangerous"
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