Lesson of the Day: ‘This Is the Free Jumpsuit You’ll Get With a $250,000 Ticket to Space’

Lesson of the Day: ‘This Is the Free Jumpsuit You’ll Get With a $250,000 Ticket to Space’

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Featured Article: “This Is the Free Jumpsuit You’ll Get With a $250,000 Ticket to Space

This week, Virgin Galactic, the company started by Richard Branson to take people to the edge of space aboard a rocket-powered plane, unveiled its sleek, high-tech garments that passengers will wear during their trips.

Students will explore the new age of fashion for space, consider the future of space tourism, and finally design their own space wear.

Would you ever want to travel to space — as a space tourist or as an astronaut on a mission? Do you think you will ever travel to outer space in your lifetime?

This week, Virgin Galactic unveiled its new space wear, which is free for customers as part of the cost of a $250,000 seat ticket.

Before you read, look through the images and videos in the article. Then, answer the following questions:

  • What do you notice?

  • What questions do you have?

  • What story do these images tell? Write a catchy headline that captures the main idea of the photos.

  • Does seeing the high-tech space wear make you more excited about the future of spaceflight? Would getting to keep the Virgin space wear make you more willing to purchase a $250,000 ticket?

Read the article, then answer the following questions:

1. Mr. Branson said, “I think the whole experience of going to space should be sexy. Our spaceships are sexy. Our mother ships are sexy. Our spaceport is sexy. And for younger people than myself, this suit is also sexy.” Do you agree with his assessment? What adjectives would you use to describe the new space jumpsuit?

2. Why did Virgin Galactic introduce their new space garments at an indoor skydiving facility with dancers? Do you think this was an effective way to unveil their new products?

3. How does the Virgin space wear compare to those of other private companies like SpaceX and Boeing, or to the new spacesuits NASA recently demonstrated publicly? How does the engineering and design of NASA’s spacesuit fit in with its goals for future missions?

4. What challenges has Virgin Galactic faced since its founding in 2004? What will passengers experience for a pricey 90-minute Virgin spaceflight? Which part of the trip would be most exciting to you?

5. Why was Under Armour chosen to design and produce Virgin’s space wear? How did they develop the design of the space outfits (such as, colors, materials, number and placement of pockets)? Which part of the process was most interesting or surprising to you?

6. The article concludes with a quote from Clay Dean, the chief innovation officer for Under Armour:

I think if you look at the original space program for NASA and the things it spawned in terms of developments that we never imagined, we’re finding the same.

What ways did the original space program transform the world? In what ways do you think future space tourism might lead to unimagined changes?

— What’s your reaction to the article? Does it make you more excited about spaceflight? Which space outfit featured in the article is your favorite? Which aspects of the Virgin jumpsuit do you find most appealing? What changes would you recommend they make, if any?

— There have been many memorable depictions of space wear throughout history — such as in films and television shows like “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” and with characters like Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story.” Which is your favorite and why? Which fictional space outfit would you most like to wear?

— Now, design your own space wear.

Your space wear can be highly practical or fantastical, but be creative and have fun. For your design, keep in mind both form and function:

  • Form: What will your outfits look like? Will they be athletic, futuristic, scary or playful? Will they be based on a color palette drawn from images of Earth backlit by the sun, as is the Virgin jumpsuit? Or upon another cool concept?

  • Function: What is the purpose of your space wear? How will it be helpful for say, wearing on the International Space Station, or a mission to the lunar South Pole?