NASA TERMINATES
CLARK EARTH SCIENCE MISSION


NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC
Release 98-35
February 25, 1998

After an extensive review, NASA has partially terminated the Clark Earth science mission due to mission costs, launch schedule delays, and concerns over the on-orbit capabilities the mission might provide. NASA will retaian launch vehicle services.

The Clark mission was part of NASA's Small Satellite Technology Initiative (SSTI) program, originally scheduled for launch in mid-1996. Named after the famous American explorer William Clark, the Clark spacecraft was to provide a very high resolution optical element with stereo imaging capabilities that would provide NASA'S former Office of Mission to Planet Earth (the current Earth Sciences enterprise) with useful environmental data. Imagery provided from Clark also would have been available commercially with applications such as helping city planners assess community growth from the unique perspective of space and providing space surveys of construction sites.

The Clark mission's prime contractor was originally a company named CTA, with a launch vehicle to be provided by Martin Marietta Astronautics. Since the start of the program, CTA has been purchased by Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, VA, and Martin Marietta Astronautics was merged with the Lockheed Corporation which formed a new company, Lockheed Martin Aerospace, Bethesda, MD.

In June 1994, there was an industry-led competition to build, launch and operate Clark, based on a March 1996 launch. To date, NASA has invested approximately $55 million in Clark. The Agency expects to recover some assets of the mission, such as some spacecraft payloads, components and subsystems which may be used on other NASA projects.

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