Virgin Galactic is adding a new spaceship to its fleet next month, and plans to unveil the craft at an event attended by Stephen Hawking. But before Virgin shows off the future look of its suborbital space plane, today the company revealed prototypes of some new flight suits and boots.
Instead of just pulling them off the rack, though, Richard Branson's space company partnered up with Y-3 — an ongoing collaboration between adidas and Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. The project was led by Adam Wells, Virgin Galactic's design head, and Y-3's Lawrence Midwood.
Branson has a bit of a Midas touch, in so much that just about everything that dons the Virgin brand winds up with some sort of splashy red, purple, and white design. So you could say the Y-3 flight suits are a bit understated, as far as Virgin designs typically go. They're all black, with zippers that run up and around the torso and lower legs. Y-3 and Virgin say that the flight suit was designed to fully support the pilot of SpaceShipTwo's natural seating position, and that the companies tested versions of it with Virgin Galactic's pilot corps.
Virgin ditches the red, white, and purple for black
Meanwhile, the flight boots are home to the only splash of color; the bright blue Virgin Galactic iris logo sits at the top of each tongue. The boots are made with fire-resistant Nomex material, use lugs from outdoor gear company Traxion to give pilots grip when walking (instead of floating) around the cabin, and feature adidas' own AdiPRENE cushioned insoles.
It's unclear whether the new suit and boots will also be worn by the well-endowed members of society who've put down $250,000 deposits to be the first to fly on one of Virgin's suborbital space flights. Those customers will get something out of this partnership, though: a bespoke, limited edition jacket celebrating the partnership between Y-3 and Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic's flights are still in question anyway — Virgin Galactic's planes have remained grounded since a catastrophic accident that took the life of a pilot back in October of 2014.