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PDS Archived SPICE Data Sets

Mission SPICE kernels that have been archived by the NAIF Node of the Planetary Data System are available directly from the

PDS SPICE Archives

on the NAIF server. For each mission the kernels and associated descriptive information are provided as a single PDS data set. These are accumulating PDS data sets, initially assembled with archival data from the earliest portion of the mission and then increasing in size as the mission progresses and new "chunks" of archival SPICE data are added, typically every three or six months.

For SPICE users who don't need the most recent flight operations kernels, acquiring these archived kernels using the PDS SPICE Archives link above is by far the best approach. This way you'll be sure to get the entire collection of archived kernels available as of the current archive date, including all mission-appropriate generic kernels. These archive collections are much easier to use than the "operational flight project kernels" available elsewhere on the NAIF web pages: many small files have been merged into a few longer ones, unneeded files have been eliminated. You'll also receive meta-kernels that help you use consistent and complete kernel sets; be sure to click on the meta-kernel link and read this important information! Also, you'll receive the best descriptive information (meta-data) that will help you understand important details about the specific kernels in the data set. For some (orbital) missions you'll also receive a SPICE ORBNUM file.

The time span currently covered by each archived data set is indicated by the start and stop times shown in the data set listing for that project on the PDS SPICE Archives web page. Note that the end time of the period covered by an accumulating archived data set will lag behind real time, usually by six to nine months—sometimes even more.

Partial SPICE data collections for historic missions (e.g. Voyager, Galileo, Magellan) that have not yet been formally archived are found under the "Operational Flight Projects Kernels" link.

An alternate means for obtaining SPICE data is to use the PDS Central Catalog data search mechanism. This catalog provides access to archived SPICE data for NASA missions no matter at which PDS node they are archived. CAUTION: use of this data search and download mechanism is not generally recommended.

All "PDS Archived SPICE Data Sets"—the data availabe from links on this web page—are certified for use in proposing for and executing NASA funded research via the ROSES or similar research programs.

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