Virgin Galactic has announced a new space-apparel partnership with Y-3. The prototype pilot flight-suit and boot was unveiled at Spaceport America in New Mexico, home to Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space terminal.
Y-3 is the collaboration between Japanese design guru Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas, which for more than ten years has been at the forefront of the high-end sportswear industry. Under the agreement with Virgin Galactic, Y-3 will be responsible for everything from flight-suits for future astronauts and pilots, to garments worn by operations and maintenance teams as well as Virgin Galactic’s hosting staff.
“Our evolution into a fully-functioning spaceline presents unprecedented opportunities to create original designs in support of our unique customer experience,” said Adam Wells, Head of Design at Virgin Galactic. “Together with the incredibly talented team at Y-3, we will explore the potential to create innovative apparel and accessories – both for our staff and for our pioneering customers – that is appropriately functional and fit-for-purpose, is thoughtfully and elegantly crafted, and is fulfilling and fun to wear and use.”
The Y-3 design team has paired the adidas brand’s technical know-how and Y-3’s directional approach to style with the use of advanced fabrics, special techniques and bespoke specifications to ensure fit, comfort and performance. The flight-suit is being designed to fully support a pilot’s natural seating position as identified through a series of tests and trials with the Virgin Galactic pilot corps. Material engineering is key, as the flight-suit has been constructed from Nomex Meta Aramid materials through a 3D engineered pattern.
The specially developed flight boot contains leather and Nomex materials and features advanced structural details for tailored functionally, including an outsole with TRAXION™ outsole lugs for ultimate grip and an adiPRENE® heel insert for comfort and shock absorption. These prototypes have reached a stage of maturity that will enable pilots to start trialing them in-flight during Virgin Galactic’s flight test program, so that their feedback on such features and functionality can be integrated into a fully resolved and test-proven design.
Virgin Galactic has always recognised that the quality of every aspect of the customers’ journey, across the whole spaceflight experience, will ultimately determine the company’s success and looks for opportunities to collaborate with internationally renowned specialist organizations that share the same ethos.
“Our design teams’ shared values will doubtlessly result in the creation of some extraordinary, special and highly treasured products, and we look forward to sharing their development stories as Virgin Galactic steps closer to commercial operations,” said Well.