Virgin Galactic spacesuits will be designed by Adidas, and the hugely successful sports equipment manufacturer has unveiled the first prototypes.
This highly important project is actually being led by Y-3, a collaborative effort between Adidas and Yoji Yamamoto, an acclaimed Japanese fashion designer.
Yamamoto joined forces with the German retailer in order to pair his avant-garde, Asian-inspired aesthetics with the company’s already modern and innovative vibe.
It appears that the partnership was considered a fruitful one by Richard Branson’s brainchild, since Y-3 is now in charge with the company’s latest endeavor: creating outfits and shoes especially for those who will be aboard Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, during suborbital commercial flights.
As explained by Y-3 senior design director Lawrence Midwood, the team, working alongside Virgin Galactic’s own design experts (led by Adam Wells) won’t be creating spacesuits and footwear destined solely for the pilots of these ships.
Instead they will also get to dress up Virgin Galactic’s staff at Spaceport America, a facility based in the Jornad del Muerto desert, from New Mexico.
The site, from where the commercial spacecraft will be launched, also includes SpaceX among its tenants, although the company hasn’t yet tested its reusable rockets there, preferring the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station instead.
In addition, Y-3 will also be the one to create the uniforms and footwear to be worn by space tourists during suborbital flights: while these won’t have to be as technically advanced and complex as the outfit destined for pilot astronauts, they will still have to fulfill a much longer list of requirements than ordinary garments.
After all, these passengers have to shell out as much as $250,000 for a spaceflight ticket, so their satisfaction and comfort are considered top priorities.
On Thursday, January 14, Adidas has already shared the first flight-suits it has developed, and it must be said that their functionality, sturdiness and practicality are exquisite.
The fabric of these futuristic outfits consists of Nomex Meta Aramid, which is reminiscent of kevlar, given how impenetrable and resistant it is, offering impressive insulation in various extreme conditions (freezing cold, intense heat, fire, radiation etc.)
The only main difference is that kevlar is much more rigid, whereas Nomex offers superior flexibility and freedom of movement, while being extremely lightweight.
This way, the commercial spaceflight’s pilot will be able to remain in the cockpit for long lengths of time (as required when embarking on journeys to the edge of space), without experiencing any discomfort or unpleasantness.
Adidas has also developed jackets to be worn by passengers, although they haven’t provided a sneak peek to the general public yet.
They did present their latest space boots however. The prototypes are also based on Nomex Meta Aramid, therefore being just as reliable and durable as the suits, while also remaining relatively light and offering great mobility.
The material has been mixed with natural leather, for added comfort and imperviousness, while the special sole inserts provide unparalleled grip. Also, the shoes feature shock-absorbing heel pads, which offer feet an added layer of protection during bumpy spaceflights.
Although they have just been unveiled, the newly designed apparel and footwear will already start being tested on actual commanders and pilots during test flights and trials conducted by Virgin Galactic using its SpaceShipTwo fleet.
So far, it’s unclear when the first commercial spaceflights operated by Virgin Galactic will begin: for now, the company is working on a new spaceship, to be revealed in February 2016, more than an year after a fatal test-flight.
Image Source: Buro247