In the CNN video linked below the reporter mentions to Unity 22's Astronaut 004 Sirisha Bandla:

When people think of Virgin Galactic, they’re thinking of giving people new astronaut wings like the ones you guys have on your space suits.

Question: What are Virgin Galactic space suits for? What do they do? What don't they do? How would the experience differ if one did not wear them? Do they monitor the passengers' heath for example? Do they improve the experience or provide safety in some way?

Cropped and sharpened screenshot from CNN's "Richard Branson describes 'extraordinary' space flight"

Cropped and sharpened screenshot from CNN's Richard Branson describes 'extraordinary' space flight

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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure those are not space suits in any sense of the word, and the interviewer probably is just mistaken. But I don't think VG has published any information on them. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2021 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag there's a bit about regulating temperature here,but I don't really understand it. youtu.be/Oi2XLij4NbI?t=3886 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 12, 2021 at 6:27
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    $\begingroup$ They are meant to make them look like the Thunderbirds. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 12, 2021 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect that the suits' main function is visuals, you don't want to go to the edge of space in a t-shirt and jeans. Well, maybe you do. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 12, 2021 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ So I guess if they have a depressurization event anywhere above 60,000 ft or so everyone just dies? Above 50,000 ft you can't stay conscious for more than a few seconds even with an oxygen mask if you aren't wearing a pressure suit. A capsule of cosmonauts returning from Salyut-1 died when their capsule lost pressure after a valve failed on their way home. It only took a few minutes for them to die. After that, Cosmonauts wore pressure suits. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Hanson
    Sep 13, 2022 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


The suits don't serve as true space suits in any sense. SpaceX Crew Dragon suits are full-on pressure suits, designed to keep you safe in case the capsule springs a leak

So slim was the new SpaceX spacesuit design that in 2018, the company's founder Elon Musk had to reassure concerned Instagram followers after the reveal: "It definitely works. You can just jump in a vacuum chamber with it, and it's fine."

Since the Virgin Galactic suits are not full-on encapsulation suits (no gloves or helmet, plus they appear to be fabric), then the only other remaining goal would be uniformity. For instance, if you had someone show up in a long flowing dress, that would be problematic when you hit zero gravity. There's no way to control where that flowing fabric will go. You wouldn't want it wrapping itself around the pilot, for instance. Thus it makes sense that by forcing passengers to wear a uniform, you remove any suggestion that a person can fly in your spacecraft wearing whatever their hearts desire. You'll note that Blue Origin seems to have taken the same tack with their very similar (and highly utilitarian) non-pressure suits. (image source)

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    $\begingroup$ There are other possible advantages, like fire protection, etc. Still, I believe you are right. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Sep 13, 2022 at 16:09

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