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Houston Astros launch new 'Space City' uniforms with nods to NASA

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve models the baseball team's new Nike City Connect "Space City"-themed uniforms. The new uniforms celebrate Houston's connection to space exploration.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve models the baseball team's new Nike City Connect "Space City"-themed uniforms. The new uniforms celebrate Houston's connection to space exploration. (Image credit: MLB/Houston Astros)

The Houston Astros are celebrating their home city's connection to space exploration with a new uniform inspired in part by NASA's astronaut wear and materials.

The Major League Baseball team debuted its new Nike City Connect uniforms on Sunday (April 10), ahead of the players wearing them for the first time when they face the Los Angeles Angels on April 20. The Astros will then don the "Space City"-themed garbs (opens in new tab) for their Monday home games at Minute Maid Park, including "NASA Night" on July 16.

"Our City Connect uniform (opens in new tab) links the past and the present, making the old new, with a nod to our city's great history of space travel," said Anita Sehgal, senior vice president of communications and marketing for the Houston Astros, in a statement released on Sunday. "We don't see this as just a uniform but as a movement for our city, and we are excited to share it today."

Johnson Space Center: NASA's 'Houston' (reference)

The Astros' new uniforms are emblazoned with Houston's official nickname since 1967, "Space City."

The Astros' new uniforms are emblazoned with Houston's official nickname since 1967, "Space City." (Image credit: MLB/Houston Astros)

The new uniform's jersey features "Space City" stenciled boldly across the chest in a font inspired by the NASA logotype affectionally known as the "worm." (opens in new tab) Houston adopted "Space City" as its official nickname in 1967 after NASA established its Manned Spacecraft Center (today, Johnson Space Center) in southeast Houston.

Home to the astronaut corps and Mission Control, many NASA crews have called back to Earth simply by addressing "Houston," including the first astronauts to land on the moon (opens in new tab).

Continuing the uniform's theming, the jerseys' sleeves are decorated with a grid pattern resembling the star charts used by astronomers. A "mission patch" on the left arm displays Houston's four area codes at the corners of the Astros' take on the Texas state flag.

The Nike logo (swoosh) on the upper right chest is embroidered with gold thread similar to the multi-layer insulation used to cover and protect much of the mission equipment sent into space. A gold lunar lander and famous Apollo 11 quote — "Houston, the Eagle has landed" — embroidered above the jock tag are symbols of accomplishment and reaching new heights.

Likewise, the phrase "Go for Launch" is also stitched into the jersey, appearing in Astros orange along the inside of the collar. The inscription is meant as a constant reminder to the players that "our mission to achieve greatness is 'go for launch.'"

The lunar module and "Houston, the Eagle has landed" above the jock tag is a symbol of reaching new heights.

The lunar module and "Houston, the Eagle has landed" above the jock tag is a symbol of reaching new heights. (Image credit: MLB/Houston Astros)

The nods also extend to the uniform's hat, pants and socks, continuing the theme of "Space City" from head to toe.

Starting at the top, the logo on the cap adds a planet's orbital track to the team's traditional "Star H" design. A small badge on the right side of the hat also spells out "Astros" in the NASA worm font.

The placement of each player's number on his right pant leg is unconventional, symbolizing the team's desire to "blaze its own path." Similarly, the socks' gradient transition from deep red to bright yellow is intended to represent the thrust from the rocket engines that blast launch vehicles into space.

Throughout, the navy blue Nike City Connect uniforms also incorporate rainbow-colored piping and highlights that are reminiscent of the Astros' look of the 1970s.

Infographic labeling the many nods to NASA and space exploration on the Houston Astros' new Nike City Connect uniforms.

Infographic labeling the many nods to NASA and space exploration on the Houston Astros' new Nike City Connect uniforms. (Image credit: MLB/Houston Astros)

The Union Station Team Store at Minute Maid Park and the Houston Astros' online store (opens in new tab) are now selling City Connect merchandise, including authentic and replica player jerseys, hats, t-shirts and socks. The team store will have extended hours through Saturday (April 16), ahead of the uniform's game use debut the following week.

The Nike MLB City Connect program was created in 2021 to celebrate the bond between each Major League Baseball team and its city. This uniforms' designs are intended to capture the personality, values and customs that make each community and their residents unique. The Houston Astros are the second team to launch their new uniforms this year.

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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.