The uniforms worn by athletes on the field of competition are often very special to them. It is in their uniforms that they compete in the sport and for the team they love. The uniforms are also special to their fans as many fans purchase versions of those uniforms to wear themselves.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) football team will be wearing uniforms that take the word special to very high new heights during an upcoming game.
According to the college football program’s website, the unique uniforms will be work when the UCF Knights take on the University of Memphis Tigers on Friday, Oct. 22. That game will be the fifth annual “Space Game.”
With his special theme, UCF is paying tribute to NASA and its space shuttle program. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the famous space shuttle program.
Against the University of Memphis, the UCF football players will be wearing uniforms and helmets that commemorate the NASA shuttle program. And to say that the uniforms go into great detail would be an understatement.
For example, the jersey numbers pay tribute to every shuttle mission. That’s 135 shuttle missions! In order to do so, each number is made up of tiles that contain information about each mission. These tiles are also meant to mimic the tiles on the space shuttle that protected the ship and its crew from the temperatures and conditions of space travel.
UCF Uniforms Will Pay Tribute to Astronauts and Those Who Worked on the Space Shuttle Program
Another part of the uniform inspired by the space shuttle is the collar. Its design is meant to resemble the nose of the space shuttle. The sleeve also bears a design similar to the pattern that appeared on the wings of the space shuttle.
One sleeve of the uniform also bears the name of the shuttle Discovery. Interestingly, this shuttle once carried a graduate of UCF into space. That graduate was astronaut Nicole Stott. She graduated from UCF in 1992. On the right sleeve, a patch commemorating Stott’s shuttle missions has been added. This patch was reportedly inspired by the patches from her missions.
The back of the jersey features a name patch inspired by the name patches worn by astronauts on their spacesuits.
Also, the helmets being worn by the UCF football players are paying tribute to two of the greatest tragedies in the space shuttle program. These were the tragedies involving the shuttle Challenger and the shuttle Columbia. In both instances, all of the astronauts on board died.
Many graduates of UCF have gone on to have careers at NASA following graduation. The helmets being worn by the players during the “Space Game” will also bear the names of the UCF faculty, fans, and alumni who worked on the space shuttle.
Interestingly, UCF was founded to provide educated staff to the United States space program in 1963. Originally, it was known as Florida Technological University. Twenty-nine percent of the staff at the famous Kennedy Space Center are graduates of UCF.
Here’s another interesting tidbit – 18 employees of UCF have had asteroids named after them. They received this unique honor thanks to their work.
So, it makes a lot of sense that the university would have a “Space Game.”