Under Armour has brought its sports apparel to much of the globe. Now the Baltimore brand is expanding into outer space with astronaut spacesuits.
Saying it wants to be part of the movement to make space accessible to “the Earth-bound masses,” Under Armour said its next frontier will be designing space apparel and footwear through a partnership with Virgin Galactic. It’s also teaming up on an astronaut performance training program.
"Working with Sir Richard [Branson] and Virgin Galactic is an opportunity of a lifetime, one that has the entire Under Armour team across the world excited,” Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO and founder, said in an announcement. “This is a great opportunity to test our innovation at the highest level and continue to push the limits of human performance."
Officially, Under Armour will become Virgin Galactic’s “technical spacewear partner,” designing custom spacesuits and footwear for the passengers and pilots that Virgin Group initiative will send to the edge of space.
The suits will have something in common with Under Armour’s sweatpants and running shoes — a performance-with-style aspect, the company said.
"Our partnership is built on the firm foundations of shared values, and it will be an absolute privilege to wear an Under Armour astronaut space suit on Virgin Galactic's inaugural commercial space flight,” Branson said in the announcement.
Branson added that he and Plank have developed a personal friendship and that he admires the brand’s “determination to push technical boundaries in order to improve performance.”
More than 600 men and women from more than 50 countries have reserved spots to fly on Virgin Galactic’s reusable space launch system, which includes carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo and spacecraft SpaceShipTwo. The world’s first commercial spaceline was founded by Branson and is owned by the Virgin Group and Mubadala Investment Group.
Virgin Galactic promises a “thrilling high acceleration, rocket-powered, vertical ascent in SpaceShipTwo at more than three times the speed of sound,” when passengers will be able to leave their seats and experience weightlessness while marveling at views of planet Earth from space.
Under Armour also will design programs for astronaut’s physical preparation and recovery that will focus on improving mobility, strength, fitness, nutrition, and sleep. And the brand will outfit Virgin Galactic’s team at Spaceport America in New Mexico, including engineers, astronaut trainers, hosts, and mission control operatives.