Virgin Galactic has revealed the spacesuits that its test pilots will wear on the first rocket-powered test flight from its new Spaceport America facility in New Mexico. Created in partnership with Under Armour, the non-pressurized garments are designed to look and function like suits that fly “regularly at over three times the speed of sound into space and back,” Virgin Galactic wrote in a press release.
We saw the passenger spacesuits earlier this year, and Virgin Galactic noted that the pilots will wear similar models with a common color palette. However, the pilots will be set apart with the addition of black on the sides and on the knees, along with black instead of blue boots, “a reminder that the destination of each flight is the black sky of space,” Virgin Galactic wrote.
The knitted suits are a relatively lightweight 1 kg (2.2 pounds), but use “flight-grade” fabrics that are also robust and strong. They’re designed for comfort whether you’re floating in zero G or pressed back into your seat during the rocket-powered boost phase. They also help regulate body temperature during various phases of flight. The companies didn’t say anything about the boots, but they bear a passing resemblance to Under Armour’s Tactical side-zip boots.
The suits will be seen on a test flight that could happen as early as next Friday, December 11th. “I’m very much looking forward to wearing my own spacesuit during New Mexico’s first human spaceflight later this month and then many times in the future as we share the wonder of space with our future astronauts,” said Virgin Galactic chief pilot Dave Mackay.