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Welcome to the ESA home for SPICE


SPICE is an information system the purpose of which is to provide scientists the observation geometry needed to plan scientific observations and to analyze the data returned from those observations. SPICE is comprised of a suite of data files, often called kernels, and software -mostly subroutines. A customer incorporates a few of the subroutines into his/her own program that is built to read SPICE data and compute needed geometry parameters for whatever task is at hand. Examples of the geometry parameters typically computed are range or altitude, latitude and longitude, phase, incidence and emission angles, instrument pointing calculations, and reference frame and coordinate system conversions. SPICE is also very adept at time conversions.

SPICE was developed and is maintained by the Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) team of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Export of SPICE data, software and expertise is not restricted under U.S. law. SPICE software is available in Fortran 77 (SPICELIB), C (CSPICE), IDL (icy) and Matlab (Mice).

This multi-mission capability has been used for more than 20 years now on many NASA missions. More recently, scientists who work with data from ESA's planetary missions (Mars Express, Venus Express, Rosetta, Smart-1 and Bepi Colombo) use SPICE to analyse their data.

Training workshops focused on how to use SPICE software and data are occasionally offered at ESAC. Future workshops will be announced here. You may also contact the ESA SPICE Team .

To read more about the SPICE system, you can go to the official home, hosted by NAIF.


The ESA SPICE Team leads the SPICE operations for ESA missions. The group operates software to convert ESA orbit, attitude and spacecraft clock correlation data into the corresponding SPICE formats. In partnership with NAIF the group works to produce the other mission-specific SPICE kernels. The ESA SPICE Team provides consultation on use of SPICE for ESA scientists.

Accessing SPICE data

The ESA SPICE Team operates a repository that stores all the SPICE kernels for ESA missions, including the several mission-independent (generic) kernels used by all missions.

The ESA SPICE Team creates an official, peer reviewed archive of the ESA missions SPICE data sets and stores them into the ESA's Planetary Science Archive (PSA). There, the archived SPICE data are available to anyone interested.


For any question/suggestion about these pages, or SPICE for the ESA missions in general, please contact the ESA SPICE Team.

     Copyright © 2015 European Space Agency. All rights reserved.
This page was first created on 27 January, 2010 and was last updated on 15 November, 2010.
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