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World's first spacesuit engineered for the masses

Under Armour has created a spacewear system for Virgin Galactic future astronauts.

17th October 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  New York, NY


New line of spacewear for Virgin Galactic. © Under Armour

New line of spacewear for Virgin Galactic. © Under Armour  

Under Armour has unveiled the spacesuits it is making for people to wear on flights to the edge of space with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. The companies are collaborating on a full line of spacewear for Virgin Galactic, which the companies claim as the first collection “created specifically for private astronauts.” The collection includes the spacesuit, a training suit, footwear and even a limited edition jacket.

“One of the main components is one of our in-line technologies we call Rush, which is a Celliant yarn that actually goes and helps your muscles recover and it uses infrared heat that actually allows your muscles to build and recover faster,” the company reports.


Earlier this year, Under Armour announced it had taken the role Exclusive Technical Spacewear Partner for Virgin Galactic, raising the curtain on a best-in-class partnership. While Virgin Galactic worked to complete the flight test programme of spaceship Unity, Under Armour was tasked with developing the spacewear system for the world’s first commercial spaceline.

New spacewear for Virgin Galactic. © Virgin Galactic

New spacewear for Virgin Galactic. © Virgin Galactic

Innovation has always been part of Under Armour’s DNA, leading to developments like HeatGear, ColdGear, Recovery Sleepwear, UA RUSH, UA HOVR and more. A dedicated team at Under Armour has been working in collaboration with the team at Virgin Galactic to deliver a spacewear system that is safe, functional and comfortable, putting its own twist on classic spacesuit and footwear to mould the way the next generation of space travellers will dress.

“At Under Armour, we pride ourselves on always getting better and leaning into innovation to drive progress for our athletes, but few things can prepare you for a project as challenging and exciting as this one. Spaceflight is a unique and demanding regime and requires a different approach. What we've engineered utilizing our key technologies will define the future of spacewear and puts us at the forefront of this history-making event. We are grateful to Richard and the incredible team at Virgin Galactic for trusting us with this groundbreaking challenge,” commented Kevin Plank, founder and CEO, Under Armour.

Base layer

The UA | VG Base Layer acts as a second skin to the body, retrofitting Under Armour’s UA RUSH technology will enhance performance and blood flow during the high and zero G portions of flight. The entire base layer is built with UA’s new Intelliknit fabric for total moisture and temperature management. From the hottest desert to the cold of space, UA Intelliknit provides temperature regulation and sweat management, making the impossible possible.


The UA | VG Spacesuit is a deep space blue, with atmospheric light blue elements and pops of gold throughout, inspired by an image of the sun in space, casting its rays on Earth. The Virgin Galactic flight DNA symbols are embedded along the spine, symbolizing the unity of the suit with the mission.

The unveil event in New York showcased the spacewear system on a zero gravity. © Virgin Galactic

The unveil event in New York showcased the spacewear system on a zero gravity. © Virgin Galactic

UA Clone, a proprietary auxetic material that forms to the exact shape of the body for a precision fit and zero-distraction feel, is used in key parts of the UA | VG Spacesuit – namely the elbows and knees - for optimal mobility and comfort. UA’s HOVR cushioning is also incorporated into the shoulder pads and neck area, which are high impact zones during the high G portions of flight.

The liner of the spacesuit incorporates other new fabrics, like Tencel Luxe, SpinIt and Nomex, used for temperature control and moisture management, as Future Astronauts may experience a spectrum of temperatures throughout their journey. UA integrated all of the brand’s performance fabrics – cooling, smooth, fast-drying, moisture-managing, comfortable and safe – to ensure the Future Astronaut has the most comfortable experience possible. An important part of the suit construction included functional features, such as multiple pockets for necessary and personal items including an integrated solution for communications, with a push-to-talk button. Each spacesuit iteration underwent rigorous testing with key stakeholders in the VG team including pilots, spaceship engineers, medical officers, astronaut instructors and the customer experience team to ensure it would outperform in-flight expectations.

Transformative impact

The designers recognised what a transformative and hugely emotional impact the spacesuits will have on the astronaut experience. After spending time with Future Astronauts customers and the VG team, UA created a modern spacesuit that incorporates their feedback. UA added a clear pocket on the inside of the jacket above the heart for a photo of a loved one, and a patch unique to each mission that is removable from the suit to be attached to the Future Astronaut’s flight jacket for everyday wear; a jacket which will be presented to astronauts after each mission.

The collection includes the spacesuit, a training suit, footwear and even a limited edition jacket. © Under Armour

The collection includes the spacesuit, a training suit, footwear and even a limited edition jacket. © Under Armour

“Once functionality and safety was nailed down from a performance perspective, we really wanted to bring the Spacesuit to life with signature Under Armour flair and recognition to Virgin Galactic's noble goals and epic achievements. We were able to incorporate the nostalgic elements of the classic spacesuit – not only from past space missions, but also iconic space movies - to redefine the way we think of space apparel moving forward and create something memorable and unlike anything Future Astronauts have ever seen,” said Nick Cienski, Principle Innovation Apparel Designer, Under Armour.


UA Clone adaptive technology, also utilized in the spacesuit, forms to the exact shape of the foot for a precision fit and zero-distraction feel, while the UA HOVR cushioning, one of the softest foams available, provides support for a functional, comfortable and flame-retardant piece of footwear. All distractions have been eliminated, resulting in a sleek, smooth, soft boot with nothing to snag on equipment or other Future Astronauts when floating in zero gravity.

The aesthetic design elements complement the spacesuit, with the shades of blue and gold flashes coming together beautifully. The graphic on the sockliner reads, We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants, inspired by a quote from Sir Isaac Newton that the Virgin Galactic programme holds close. In addition, the Virgin Galactic flight DNA symbols and logo unify the full space kit.

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