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Clementine (DSPSE)

Clementine 1 [NASA]

The DSPSE (Deep Space Program Science Experiment), the first of a series of Clementine technology demonstrations jointly sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], launched in early 1994. Its principal objective is to space qualify lightweight imaging sensors and component technologies for the next generation of Department of Defense (DoD) spacecraft. The Clementine mission uses the Moon, a near-Earth asteroid (1620 Geographos), and the spacecraft's Interstage Adapter (ISA) as targets to demonstrate lightweight component and sensor performance. As a secondary mission, Clementine returns valuable data of interest to the international civilian scientific sector. It represents a new class of small, low cost, and highly capable spacecraft that fully embrace emerging lightweight technologies to enable a series of long-duration deep space missions.

The BMDO assigned responsibility for the Clementine spacecraft design, manufacture, integration, and mission execution to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provided lightweight imaging sensors developed under the sponsorship of BMDO. Clementine launched on a Titan-2(23)G [Star-37FM] expendable launch vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in January 1994 togethe with the instrumented Interstage adaptor (ISA). During its two month orbit of the Moon it captured 1.8 million images of the Moons surface.

Clementine 1, featured following instruments:

  • Ultraviolet/Visible Camera - This medium resolution camera uses CCD technology and operates in the near- ultraviolet and visible region of the spectrum. Combined with a six-position spectral filter wheel, this sensor was designed for mineralogical studies of the Moon.
  • Near Infrared Camera - This camera provided images in the 1-3 micrometer wavelength region at medium resolution. Combined with a six-position spectral filter wheel, this camera was used for mineralogical studies.
  • High Resolution Camera - This camera operated at visible wavelengths with CCD technology combined with an image intensifier and a six-position spectral filter wheel. It provided higher-resolution images free from spacecraft motion blur.
  • LIDAR System - This system was used to obtain altitude measurements during mapping orbits around the Moon.
  • Long Wave Infrared Camera - This lightweight camera operated in the thermal infrared region of the spectrum. It was used to measure the thermal emission from the Moon.
  • Star Tracker Camera - The Star Tracker provides an inertial reference for the spacecraft by comparison of star field images with an onboard star map. Two of these cameras were flown on the Clementine Mission.

Clementine's secondary scientific task, a rendezvous with the asteroid 1620 Geographos, failed because of the uncontrolled spinning of the spacecraft after its departure from lunar orbit.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Lunar orbiter, asteroid flyby, technology experiments
Operator: BMDO
Contractors: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Configuration: octagonal prism, 2 solar panels, 3-axis stabilized
Propulsion: R-4D
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 424 kg (with propellant)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Clementine 1 (DSPSE) 1994-004A 25.01.1994 Va SLC-4W Titan-2(23)G [Star-37FM] with ISA


Further Clementine (DSPSE) Missions missions: