It might seem strange, but Columbia Sportswear is going into space. Well, at least some of their know-how is acquired through a partnership with Intuitive Machines. Founded in 1938, the brand has a reputation for value for money, especially for its winter jackets and coats, which feature Omni-Heat Infinity technology.
What is technology? What is this partnership about?Well, TheStreet spoke to Columbia Sportswear’s VP of Innovation (COL) – Get Free Report , Haskell Beckham unpacks all of this. Incidentally, the same technology that will be featured on the upcoming lander is also present in the currently available jacket. You might even be rocking it without knowing it.
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Columbia’s Omni-Heat Infinity
As you can see from the image above, Omni-Heat Infinity is visually a series of gold dots – on the jacket, it’s the inner layer. Beckham describes the fabric as reflecting heat.
Expanding further, “in our [Columbia’s] Jackets and other products that reflect your body heat. It was originally inspired by the reflective devices NASA has been using. On Intuitive Machines’ upcoming lander, it will reflect heat to help insulate it.
Twelve years ago, when Columbia originally introduced Omni-Heat Reflective technology, it was silver dots, now Omni-Heat Infinity is gold, has more dots that are still reflective, and is lighter and more breathable.
Beckham expands on the technique by stating that it is a discontinuous pattern, which “simply means that it appears on the fabric in dots, with spaces between the dots allowing moisture from the body to pass directly into the fabric. ,” he continued. This is the main difference between the classic space blanket and the space blanket you see after a marathon.
This allows the gear to provide breathability and allows the jacket to be worn for longer periods of time. With Reflective vs Infinity, Columbia was able to include more of these dots without compromising breathability.
how it works in space
Now for a bit more tech savvy, Beckham unpacks how this technology works with us humans as well as space:
“Some metals have low thermal emissivity, and they’re also highly reflective of infrared radiation, which is the wavelength of actual electromagnetic radiation emanating from your body. Simply put, another term for body heat.”
This explains how Omni-Heat technology works to retain body heat, but for space, the technology also has the ability to reflect heat at different wavelengths. Beckham went on to say that the heat emitted by the sun is a different wavelength. “It reflects the heat off the lander, so it can insulate from the really hot temperatures on the moon.”
Temperatures in lunar space can vary from minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit to plus 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether Omni-Heat Infinity technology is going into space or into jackets and other products to keep you warm, it’s been put to the test.
Beckham shared that Columbia University has a lab on their Portland campus where they test products like jackets and other gear in crazy temperatures — hot and cold — as well as wind resistance and durability. Abrasive. The latter tests gear against moisture, steam and rain, among many other conditions.
To test in space conditions, Beckham partnered with Intuitive Machines to find a third-party testing facility to handle the harsher temperature conditions the lander might face. He shared that the technology passed and got the green light.
Origin of partnership
To start the partnership, Intuitive Machines reached out to Columbia Sportswear while looking for a sponsor. Especially as they are ramping up their programs as part of a broader push by NASA and the space economy to commercialize space. Beckham noted on the call that they could provide not just funding but the technology that will be used on the lander.
Specifically, the Omni-Heat technology will be on board the Nova-C lander launching next year, representing a return to the moon. Part of NASA’s Artemis program, Columbia’s technology will protect ships in the ultra-cold temperatures of space.
In addition, Columbia Brand President Joe Boyle shared his thoughts on the partnership:
“challenge the limit [of] Our technology and products have always been at the heart of Columbia’s mission, so it was only natural for us to test our technology in the far reaches of space through our groundbreaking partnership with Intuitive Machines. We are excited that our Omni-Heat Infinity technology will be at work during this return to the lunar surface, and the insights we gather will be invaluable for our seasons to come.”
The latter part of what Columbia can develop for future products here on Earth, as well as for future space missions, is exciting, and Beckham echoed that during our conversation.
The Full Thermal Gear You Can Wear Right Now
You can currently get gear with Omni-Heat Technology from Columbia ahead of the Nova-C’s launch in 2023. I’ve been wearing the Platinum Peak jacket for the past few days, which has a gleaming gold Omni-Heat interior.
While we haven’t been confronted with absolutely frigid temperatures on the US East Coast this season, it’s sure to warm up the body quickly, but not to the point where you’re likely to sweat right away. It’s also lightweight and can be packed for easy storage—both in season and on the go. It also comes in several shades.
In addition to this Platinum Peak jacket, Columbia also offers a full line of Omni-Heat Infinity products. From jackets to parkas for men and women, as well as shoes, hats, gloves, vests, shirts, and even pants.
With all of winter looming, it’s not a bad idea to throw on some gear that’s important in terms of value but also lasts multiple seasons. Plus, if you wear it around town, next year you’ll be able to look up at your lander and know you have something in common.
Prices were accurate and items were in stock at time of posting.