The Purdue football team released their new moon-inspired uniforms on Oct. 7 — just in time for their homecoming game Saturday — but UCF fans have seen the moon-inspired gear in a homecoming game before.
UCF football released its own space-themed uniforms on Oct. 10, 2017, to honor the roots of the university.
“The University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 as Florida Technological University, with the mission of supporting the growing United States space program at nearby Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” the UCF Athletics website dedicated to the space game reads. “Its motto, ‘Reach for the Stars,’ represented the university’s promising aerospace education in engineering, electronics and other technological professions.”
The Knights’ space-themed tradition continued into 2018 and is on the schedule for this season against Houston on Nov. 2.
Purdue’s football team, wearing the moon-inspired helmet and astronaut-themed patch, is honoring the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission and accreditation as the Cradle of Astronauts, according to a Purdue Athletics press release.
The Purdue uniforms have very similar features to the UCF version, including commemorative patches and moon tracks on the helmets. The most notable difference between the two uniforms was the color — UCF went with black helmets and Purdue went with white.
UCF fans took to social media to claim that Purdue copied the style of the UCF.
Purdue has had several alumni over the years that have become successful astronauts, the most notable one being Neil Armstrong. However, UCF has also had some of its own students graduate and become astronauts, including former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott.
Purdue may have produced more astronauts, but UCF’s contribution to space research can’t go unnoticed.
“UCF’s relationship with NASA is really providing a reservoir of scientific talent that enables the goals of our space program,” said UCF Pegasus Professor Dan Britt in a June press release. “That kind of talent is not found in most universities in the country, and it allows UCF to be part of an elite group that actually has significant input into the nation’s space program.”