Just as it is preparing to ferry paying clients into suborbital space, Virgin Galactic is widening its developmental aim a little bit away from the technical aspects of the SpaceShip Two spacecraft system to the passenger experience of its astronauts.
Virgin Galactic: Spaceship Two, full-scale mock-up in Virgin Galactic livery.
On January 24, 2019, Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company backed by Richard Branson and the US sports label announced that they are planning to make commercial space flight a reality by making the Under Armour brand to design and produce the technical space wear for passengers on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft passengers and its pilots.
Founder of Under Armour Kevin Plank.
It was also announced that Under Armour will also be designing and producing uniforms for other Virgin Galactic staff members, including engineers and mission control operators. Its athletic performance team is also planning to develop programs to physically prepare astronauts for space flight and recovery. This program will focus on strength, mobility, nutrition, sleep, and fitness.
The Virgin Galactic has also revealed that the commercial flights will move from Mojave to Spaceport America. It was also announced that the Founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson will also be on board the first commercial space flight of the company. The full line of Rocket Armour clothing for space flight on the Virgin Galactic Spacecraft will be revealed later this year, before the Inaugural space flight of Richard Branson.
Although some people might argue whether there should be a clothing requirement to travel to space, the correct answer is yes because of the fact that the clothing requirements for space flight are often designed in a way that will accommodate passengers through space flight trips that will include going at high-speed levels like Mach3. At this level of speed, passengers will experience a period of weightlessness where they will be able to leave their seats and move about inside the spacecraft cabin.
The space wear designed by Under Armour for Virgin Galactic spacecraft will include shirt sleeves without requiring passengers to use bulky and pressurised spacesuits. Under Armour should be suited for the design of the technical aspects of producing clothes for space travel because of its remarkable history of designing and producing performance gears for athletes.
However, it is expected that this program will bring some unique challenges even though the requirements for the design of these space wears are not as rigorous as those of spacesuits that are designed to protect astronauts that are expected to outside a spacecraft. But still, clothing for suborbital space travels is not expected to be as simple as just throwing on some comfortable active wear yet.
The average spacecraft passenger will require clothing that they can wear inside the spacecraft cabin in case of an emergency where they might need to move up and down inside the rocket or perform tricky maneuvers like Docking. These Spacesuits are commonly referred to as Intra Vehicular Activities (IVA) or just pressure suits. However, as space travel develops more and leaves its root in military technology and scientific exploration, it is becoming more commercial and passengers on spacecraft will need a pressure suit that is more effective, comfortable and less bulky than pressurized spacesuits.