The old Heinlein adage says: “Have spacesuit, will travel.” Well, Virgin Galactic now has a spacesuit to travel in style.
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 Wednesday (Oct. 16), where a team of flying dancers performed an aerial ballet in the suits to show off their flexibility Iphone Cases. 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 LG Cases 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.”
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo experience
Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 to offer private spaceflights on what the company bills as the world’s first commercial spaceline. Under that plan, SpaceShipTwo will launch eight people — six passengers and two pilots on suborbital spaceflights that reach at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) up — which the FAA has recognized as space — and return to Earth.
Tickets cost $250,000 per seat, though that may rise in the near future, and passengers will get epic views of Earth from space and a few minutes of weightlessness, Virgin Galactic representatives have said.
The SpaceShipTwo vehicle is designed to be launched from mid-air, with a massive WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane hauling the spacecraft into position. The launch system is an evolution of the SpaceShipOne/WhiteKnight system built by Scaled Composites, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for reusable commercial suborbital flight in 2004. Branson founded Virgin Galactic shortly after that X Prize win.
“Fifteen years, bloody hell,” Branson said. “We thought it would take about seven before we’d be sitting here.”