Under Armour is developing space apparel and footwear for Virgin Galactic astronauts, engineers, and fans as part of a new partnership. The performance-wear company will also create an astronaut training program that includes fitness and nutrition plans to prepare future passengers for space travel.
This comes as the race to make commercial space travel a reality is intensifying. Virgin Galactic reached a major milestone last month when for the first time, a crewed vehicle built for commercial passenger service reached space. The two astronauts traveled 51.4 miles above the earth's surface.
"If you're going to space, it's going to be -- you got married, you have your children, and the other thing you're going to remember is that day you go to space. It's very important, therefore, that when you look in the mirror before you go to space, you feel the part," Virgin Galactic foundertold "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said their partnership began during a visit to Branson's private island. Fittingly, Branson was wearing beach shorts.
"In my world, Sir Richard Branson is larger than life and so there's nothing more disarming than someone approaching you wearing beach shorts," Plank said.
From there, a friendship and, ultimately a partnership, was born.
Plank said that everything going into the space apparel and footwear for Virgin Galactic passengers will be built from existing technology Under Armour uses in products on the market already, or in ones coming soon.
"It's all the technology we've had over 23 years of the company being in business, is something we get to apply now to something as real as space. Watching this all come to life is something - I think it's a dream for so many around the planet, and it's such a massive vision. All the technologies that we're using, it's basically - this is the kind of project that our team looks at and says, 'I can't believe we get to build and do something for space,'" Plank said. "So this is so in line with what and who we are as a technical brand."
Last December, Virgin Galactic's rocket-powered SpaceShipTwo carried two test pilots out of the discernible atmosphere. It marked the company's first piloted flight to the edge of space and a major milestone for his plans to eventually launch tourists on brief, sub-orbital trips to space.
Despite his age, Branson said he is planning his first trip to space later this year. The 68-year-old tycoon has been training in the hopes that he can have the body of a "sort of 30-year-old" by the time he goes to space. But he said he already feels like he's in his 30s.