News story

Armadillo Merino wins contracts to supply t-shirts to NASA

UKTI helps Derby based specialist clothing company develop its export sales.

Armadillo Merino’s specialist t-shirts are now being worn by NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. The company has clinched 3 contracts with the space agency to supply the specialist clothing.

Andy Caughey, Managing Director of Armadillo Merino, said:

The clothing had all the attributes that NASA was looking for, as they are not just t-shirts – they are highly technical garments, classed as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

Supplying NASA

The initial contact with NASA came about after the company entered a competition in the US for innovative fabrics. NASA has up to 100 astronauts training at any one time, so their clothing must be suitable for both orbit and earth.

Armadillo approached NASA with a proposition to help them improve the protection, performance and comfort of space-station astronauts in mid-June 2013. Contracts resulted from this approach.

Andy Caughey, Managing Director of Armadillo Merino, said:

The clothing is flame resistant, up to 600 degrees, anti-static, which is vital in space, and low lint; important as loose fibres can cause problems with the filtration systems on board space craft.

Clothing also needs to be worn for multiple days so the fabric has special odour reduction properties which means each garment can be worn for up to two weeks at a time.

Plus, although the space station is kept at a constant temperature, the merino garment works to provide a stable core temperature and keeps skin dry.

Developing exports

Armadillo Merino has been working with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) since 2012 to build a presence overseas.

UKTI has introduced the business to potential customers and helped them identify and select specialist distributors.

Ian Harrison, Regional Director for UKTI East Midlands said,

Andy’s achievements are marvellous. He is reaching for the stars with his products, and his dedication has really paid off.

Emergency response and military applications

The main markets for Armadillo Merino’s range of super-fine merino wool base layers are first responders and Special Forces.

The clothing range was developed by Andy Caughey after he witnessed the horrific skin burns on soldiers who had been wearing synthetic base layers in explosions.

The naturally flame resistant range of tops and leggings are ideal for those professionals operating in extreme weather or environments where there is the risk of fire or burns.


Want to find out how UKTI can help you? Arrange a face to face meeting with an International Trade Adviser.