SPACE CRAFT: Armadillo Merino, a British firm that specializes in performance merino wool clothing, has become an official outfitter to NASA astronauts, according to UK Trade & Investment, a British government department.
The firm has signed three contracts with NASA over the past 18 months, providing super fine merino wool T-shirts for astronaut training on earth and in space, according to UKTI, which helps British businesses build their export markets.
“NASA has up to 100 astronauts training at any one time, so the clothes need to be suitable for both orbit and earth,” said Andy Caughey, managing director of Armadillo Merino, based in Derbyshire, England. “The clothing is flame resistant up to 600 degrees, anti-static, which is vital in space, and low lint; important as loose fibers can cause problems with the filtration systems on board space craft.”
The shirts can be worn for multiple days, so the fabric has special odor reduction properties that mean each garment can be worn for up to two weeks at a time. It also provides a stable core temperature and keeps skin dry, Caughey added.
While the main markets for Armadillo Merino’s range of merino wool base layers are emergency responders and the armed forces, the brand also has a consumer Web site that sells tops, bottoms, socks and accessories made with the performance wool.