Digital micromirror devices (DMDs) are micro-electro- mechanical systems, originally developed to display images in projector systems. A DMD in the focal plane of an imaging system can be used as a reprogrammable slit mask of a multi-object spectrometer (MOS) by tilting some of the mirrors towards the spectrometer and tilting the rest of the mirrors away, thereby rejecting the unwanted light (due to the background and foreground objects). A DMD-based MOS can generate new, arbitrary slit patterns in seconds, which significantly reduces the overhead time during astronomical observations. Critically, DMD-based slit masks are extremely lightweight, compact and mechanically robust, which makes them attractive for use in space-based telescopes. As part of a larger effort to investigate the use of DMDs in space telescopes (sponsored by a NASA Strategic Astrophysics Technologies grant), we characterized the optical performance of Texas Instruments DMDs to determine their suitability for use in multi-object spectrometers. The performance of a DMD-based MOS is significantly affected by its optical throughput (reflectance), contrast ratio (the ability of the DMD to reject unwanted light) and scattering properties (which could lead to crosstalk and reduced signal-to-noise ratio in the spectrometer). We measured and quantified the throughput and contrast ratio of a Texas Instruments DMD in several configurations (which emulate the operation of a typical DMD-based MOS) and investigated the scattering properties of the individual DMD mirrors. In this work we present the results of our analysis, describe the performance of a typical DMD- based MOS and discuss the practical limitations of these instruments (such as maximum density of sources and expected signal-to- noise ratio).