Status: Terminated

Launch Date: January 25, 1994

Mission Summary: Clementine was a joint project between the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and NASA. It was designed to make scientific observations of the Moon and of a near-Earth asteroid called 1620 Geographos while testing new sensors and spacecraft components for space-worthiness. Lunar insertion was achieved on February 21, 1994, and lunar mapping proceeded for the next two months. After leaving lunar orbit, a foul-up in one of the on-board computers caused a motor to fire until all its fuel was exhausted, sending the spacecraft into an uncontrollable 80 RPM spin. Clementine was unable to continue on to Geographos, but continued to test the other onboard components successfully for the remainder of the mission.

Accomplishments: Assesed the surface mineralogy of the Moon, and obtained lunar altimetry from 60N to 60S latitude.

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Clementine was a spacecraft designed to make charged particle measurements, do imaging on a variety of frequencies, and perform laser altimetry on the Moon and near Earth asteroid 620 Graphos. It was also to test the spaceworthyness of its sensors and hardware. Clementine was a joint project of NASA and the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

Mission History

Clementine was launched from Vandenberg Air Force base on January 25 1994 at 16:34 UTC aboard a Titan II-G rocket. The craft attained lunar orbit on February 19 1994 after two Earth flybys, the first on February 5 and the second on February 15. It then began its mission with a elliptical polar orbit with a perilune of about 400 km at 28 degrees S latitude that took five hours to complete. It remained in this orbit for a month, when on March 26 is was rotated to a new orbit of 29 degrees N latitude.

The spacecraft exited lunar orbit on May 5. On May 7, after the first of two Earth transfer orbits, a computer malfunction caused one of Clementine's attitude control thrusters to fire continuously for 11 minutes, until all of its fuel had been exhausted. The errant thruster put Clementine into an 80 RPM spin, which made certain that the second part of its mission, the 620 Graphos flyby, would yield no useful results. Clementine was instead put into a geocentric orbit in the Van Allen radiation belts to study the effect of radiation exposure on the spacecraft instruments.

Clementine died a slow death in the Van Allen belts, and in June 1994, power levels on the craft dropped to a point where transmitted telemetry became unintelligible.


The spacecraft was octagonal in shape, 1.88 meters high and 1.14 meters across. It carried two gimbal mounted GaAs/Ge solar panels, which recharged a 15 amp-hour, 47 w hr/Hg Ni-H common pressure vessel battery. Sensors were all mounted together on one of the eight sides, perpendicular to the solar panels, and were protected in flight by a single sensor cover. A high-gain fixed antenna was mounted on one end of the craft, and the 489 N thruster was located on the opposite end.

Propulsion was provided by a bipropellent system for maneuvers and a hydrazine system for attitude control. The bipropellent system used nitrogen trioxide and monomethyl hydrazine, and had a total capacity of approximately 1900 m/s. 550 m/s of that capacity was required for lunar insertion and 540 m/s was required for lunar departure.

Attitude control was provided by two inertial measurement units, two star tracker cameras, and 12 attitude control thrusters. While in lunar orbit, the craft was three axis stabilized by reaction wheels.

Clementine carried seven instruments, a UV/Visible camera, a near infrared camera, a long wavelength infrared camera, a high resolution camera, two star tracker cameras, a laser altimeter, and a charged particle telescope. Clementine also carried an S-band transmitter, which was used for communications, tracking, and a gravimetry experiment.

Onboard data processing was performed by two computers. The first, a MIL-STD-1750A computer operating at 1.7 million instructions per seconds provided savemode, attitude control, and housekeeping operations. The second, a RISC 32-bit processor operating at 18 million instructions per second, was used for image processing, image compression (courtesy of the French Space Agency CNES), and autonomous operations. Data was save on a 2 Gbit dynamic solid state recorder.

The Clementine spacecraft used a lunar transfer booster called the Clementine Interstage Adapter Satellite to get it from the Earth to the Moon.

Clementine carries NSSDC (National Space Science Data Center) Master Catalog ID 1994-004A. The information here was obtained in part from

Also a song by Tom Lehrer, in his album, an evening wasted with Tom Lehrer.

In it, he declares that the folk song Clementine has no recognizable merit, probably because folk aren't very good at writing songs. He then sings the song in four parts matching various song styles.

First is Cole Porter, which involves overephasising every few words. Next is Italian opera, which is mostly in Italian. The third part is the cool school of composers(i.e. jazz), which includes lots of incomrehensible words, like "Yeap brack". And finally, Lehrer goes to Gilbert and Sullivan for "a rousing finale, full of words and music, and signifying nothing".

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Phil Lesh

Reprinted with permissions
copyright: Ice Nine Publishing

Chocolate sandwiches, roses {of} wine
Red ripe persimmons, my sweet Clementine
I go on, I go on, I can't fill my cup
There's a hole in the bottom, the well has dried up

I run through the forest, I cut past the vine
Head through the thickets, many a time
Octave of voices, sweet voices belie
I live for the comfort of cold Clementine

This was one of the tunes written around 1969. It was only performed a handful of times and never appeared on any records in either studio or live version. It's a shame because the lyric is eloquently romantic and spare yet hauntingly beautiful. I have heard 3 versions of the song and all of them were quite extended and jammed out.

The lyrics are not in Robert Hunter's book "Box Of Rain", but the sleeve notes to "So Many Roads" credit him with writing it.
Recordings - So Many Roads (1965-1995)

citrus reticulata

The clementine is a hybrid of a mandarin and a sweet orange. The Latin name, reticulata refers to the netted, fibrous pith between the peel and the fruit. This trait has been described as zipper skinned. Another reference to the skin is "kid-gloved" which refers to the soft supple leathery skin that is comparable to the soft leather of kid skin gloves, something delicate, that should be handled with care. Since it is orange in color, “seedless”, and the skin is easily peeled, it is a tangerine and a Satsuma, which are types of mandarin. Don’t be confused. These hybrids are abundant and cross-pollinate readily, botany has classified anything that tastes like and comes from a mandarin, as a mandarin.

There are conflicting theories over the origin of the clementine. A popular view is that Father Clement Rodier grew the first tree on the grounds of his missionary in Algeria in the Early 1900’s. The other view is that the mutated variety of the mandarin was discovered before the twentieth century in China and trickled into the Mediterranean regions of Europe and Japan (Satsuma). Spain began commercial production in 1925. The fruit was introduced to the United States in 1909 and growing began at the Citrus Research Center of Riverside California around the same time. It didn’t become a popular fruit until an orange shortage in 1982. It typically ripens in late November, so it fast became associated with the holidays. The lack of seeds, sweet taste and easily peeled skin have made it one of the most popular fruits in the United States.

Clementines grow in Spain, the U.K. (November – February), Chile (August – October), Morocco, S. Africa, Australia, New Zealand (June – August), and the United States (November – May). They prefer moderate climates with hot days and cool nights. It can be grown in pots. It is self-pollinating and if pollinated by insects, will produce many large seeds. Clementine trees are short with green pointed leaves, some varieties produce thorns but usually the thorns disappear when the tree is mature. Fruit production varies though pruning increases yield.

Types of Clementines:

  • Arrufina (falina): 1968 mutant of fina
  • Corsica 1 and 2: New Zealand variety of fina, sweet tangy taste April – July
  • Clementard: like hernandina but less bright
  • De Nules: large, high sugar, bright aromatic skin, November- end of January
  • Esbal: a 1966 mutant of fina
  • Fina: very small, deep orange, December to end of February
  • Hernandina: small, bright orange though color sometimes does not develop, available after February, has few seeds
  • Marisol: a 1970 mutant of oroval, tart taste, yellow to light orange, November tends to drop fruit in heavy rain
  • Oronul: small size, sweet taste, vibrant color, late November, limited production
  • Oroval: high sugar, bright color, some seeds, early to late November
  • Tomatera: medium size (between De Nules and Fina), red orange, seedless late December, very rare.

The hybrid mutant varieties are abundant.

These little fruits are delicious and the crates they come in can be used for a variety of household uses. There is even an artist in Connecticut named Kari Lonning that uses the popular and colorful Darling Clementine crates for her art.

Clem"ent*ine (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Clement, esp. to St.Clement of Rome and the spurious homilies attributed to him, or to Pope Clement V. and his compilations of canon law.


© Webster 1913.

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