The Deep Space Program Science Experiment (DSPSE), the first of a series of CLEMENTINE technology demonstrations jointly sponsored by NASA and the forerunner to MDA, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, was launched in January 1994. Its principle objective was to space qualify lightweight imaging sensors and component technologies for the next generation of Department of Defense spacecraft. The CLEMENTINE mission used the Moon, a near-Earth asteroid, and the spacecraft's Interstage Adapter as targets to demonstrate lightweight component and sensor performance. As a secondary mission, CLEMENTINE returned valuable data of interest to the international civilian scientific sector. It represented a new class of small, low-cost, and highly capable spacecraft that fully embraced emerging lightweight technologies to enable a series of long-duration deep space missions.
1994 Clementine Photos
MDA funded and managed the first DoD mission to deep space, Clementine. During the eight years prior to Clementine's Deep Space Program Scientific Experiment (DSPSE) mission launch on Jan. 25, 1994, MDA developed new lightweight technologies for spacecraft components and sensors. The primary purpose of the Clementine mission was to space qualify more than 20 components. To do this it used the moon, a near-Earth asteroid, and the spacecraft's Interstage Adapter to demonstrate lightweight component and sensor performance. The secondary mission returned valuable data of interest to the international civilian scientific community. Clementine was placed in lunar mapping orbit in late February 1994 where several of its advanced lightweight cameras recorded approximately 1.5 million images of over 99.9% of the Moon's surface, including laser radar measurements which produced a topographical map of the lunar surface. In December 1996, scientists revealed that deposits of ice could exist in permanently dark regions near the Moon's south pole.