A handful of programs in the sport have tried to claim ownership of being college football’s unofficial outer space team.
Purdue, Rice, UCF and Air Force have all trotted out space-themed uniforms over the years. The Air Force Academy has its connection with the Space Force, Rice and UCF have longstanding relationships with NASA, and at least 47 Purdue graduates have gone to space – including Neil Armstrong – leading the Boilermakers to wear uniforms honoring the moon landing in 2019.
But here’s the thing: No other institution of higher education in America has produced more astronauts than the United States Naval Academy. So, if any college football program has a claim to the “Astronaut U” tag, it’s the one in Annapolis, Maryland. They’ve sent 54 Midshipmen to space.
Navy pulled further ahead in college football’s space race on Monday, unveiling incredibly awesome NASA-themed uniforms for its annual clash with Army.
The uniforms were created in a collaboration with Under Armour and are extremely detailed.
On the right shoulder is NASA’s “meatball logo,” which was on the space suit that 1958 Navy graduate and astronaut Bruce McCandless II wore in 1985 when he took the first untethered spacewalk in history. The helmet the Mids will wear against Army feature hand-crafted paintings of McCandless floating in space with Earth in the background. The other side of the helmet has the classic block red NASA logo. Written on the back of the helmet is, “From the sea to the stars.”
The uniform’s letters and numbers are in the Helvetica font because its one that NASA has used for decades.
First adopted in 1963, the astronaut pin is featured on the pants and gloves the Mids will wear. It’s given to astronauts after they complete basic training. Navy will wear all-white cleats with tiny shiny dots to mimic moon boots.
On the left shoulder on the front of the jersey is a patch for the USS Enterprise – the world’s first nuclear aircraft carrier – which tracked the first American orbital spaceflight, Friendship 7. McCandless and William McCool (a 1983 Navy graduate) both served on the Enterprise.
— Navy Football (@NavyFB) November 21, 2022
Alan Shepard – Naval Academy Class of 1945 – was the first American in space and was one of NASA’s first seven astronauts. The most recent Navy graduate to go to space is Kayla Barron. The 2010 graduate was a cross country and track and field athlete for the Mids.
The 123rd Army-Navy game kicks off at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia on Dec. 10. Navy won last season 17-13.
While Air Force has already won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy this season, the winner of Army-Navy will crown the best FBS Service Academy team that is not currently on NCAA probation for recruiting violations.
Featured image courtesy of Navy Athletics.
11 spectacular photos of Artemis I rocket launching toward the moon
view 11 images