Virgin Galactic and partner Under Armour unveiled a new line of "spacewear" spacesuits for future passengers on SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane once space tourism flights begin (likely in 2020). That gear includes a base spacesuit, footwear, a training suit and a "Limited Edition" astronaut jacket.
Sir Richard Branson Virgin Galactic's billionaire founder, unveiled the spacewear line with what the company billed as a "zero gravity" catwalk — actually an iFly indoor skydiving venue — here today (Oct. 16), where a team of flying dancers performed an aerial ballet in the suits to show off their flexibility. At the finale, Branson walked out clad head-to-toe in the new spacewear.
"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," Branson said in a statement. "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."
Virgin Galactic revealed the new spacesuits to a select group of guests and reporters during Wednesday's event. The company also webcast the event to the 600 passengers who have already signed up for a trip to space and to employees at its centers across the U.S. and in London.
"This is a really historic day for Galactic," Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told the audience, adding that it's another step closer to passenger flights. "We're getting really, really close now, folks."