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SPICE Tutorials (Updated July 1, 2013)

This is a collection of tutorials, in chart style using PDF format, covering most aspects of using SPICE kernel files and allied Toolkit software to compute observation geometry parameters. There is also limited discussion about making SPK and CK kernels. Included in this collection is a working programming example, provided in each supported language.

At the bottom of the list is a link to a zip file containing the entire tutorial collection, and also a single PDF that combines all of the tutorials.

Use these tutorials in conjunction with the source code headers. For an even greater understanding also read any applicable "Required Reading" technical reference documents.

File Name
About this set of tutorials
A brief introduction to the SPICE system
Why SPICE was conceived
An overview of the entire SPICE system
Some discussion on concepts of space geometry and time
Summary of many conventions and the lingo used within SPICE
A discourse on the numeric IDs used throughout SPICE
An introduction to the data files used in SPICE
Some information about porting kernels between dissimilar computers
Means for providing and using metadata (data about data) in kernels
General instructions for obtaining and installing a SPICE Toolkit package
Some specific requirements and suggestions about configuring your computing environment to use SPICE software
An overview of the various kinds and contents of the SPICE Toolkits
Special notes about the Toolkits designed for use with MATLAB
Special notes about the Toolkits designed for use with Interactive Data Language
Where to find the principal instructions for using any Toolkit module
Time systems, conversions and formats used in SPICE
The leapseconds (LSK) and spacecraft clock (SCLK) kernels used in time computations
The ephemeris subsystem, used for providing state (position/velocity) of objects
The subsystem (PCK) used for providing size, shape and orientation of solar system bodies
The subsystem (C-matrix Kernel) that deals with orientation of spacecraft and rotating structures on the spacecraft
The subsystem (Frames Kernel) used to define many of the reference frames available within SPICE
Provides some examples of how the Frames Subsystem is used
Describes an important extension to the Frames Subsystem
Special kernels dealing with orientation of the moon and earth
The subsystem that deals with instrument field of view size, shape and orientation, and perhaps more
Provides pointers to examples of real FKs and IKs that could be useful to examine
An introduction to some of the "high-level" observation geometry computations that are possible using SPICE kernels and Toolkit software
An introduction to some of the "low level" computations available within SPICE
The subsystem used to find times or time spans of certain geometric events
Provides an overview the built-in mechanism for trapping and handling many kinds of erroneous inputs
Describes each of the small number of programs provided as part of the SPICE Toolkit
Describes each of the small number of programs not part of the SPICE Toolkit but available from the NAIF website
Discusses some of the most common problems encountered by SPICE system users
Describes where to find the various categories of SPICE kernels available from NAIF
A handy desktop reference summarizing key points made in the SPICE tutorials
A sample space geometry program built with the IDL ("Icy") interface to SPICE
A sample space geometry program built with the MATLAB ("Mice") interface to SPICE
A sample space geometry program built with the C interface to SPICE
A sample space geometry program built with the FORTRAN interface to SPICE
Discusses mechanisms for producing a SPICE SPK file
Discusses mechanisms for producing a SPICE CK file
Provides an overview the SPICE Events subsystem (EK)
A brief overview of NAIF's plans for further development of the SPICE system
An overview of the integrated shape model subsystem currently under development
A listing of relevant SPICE documents arranged by functional category
A description of the client-server GUI interface to SPICE
ZIP file of all SPICE Tutorials
A single PDF merging all tutorials
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