PDS SPICE Archives
For each mission the kernels and associated descriptive information are provided as a single PDS data set.
For a majority of the missions this is an
accumulating PDS data set, 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: in some cases small files have been merged into a few longer ones,
unneeded files have been eliminated,and, most importantly, you'll also receive
meta kernels that help you use consistent and complete kernel sets. Also, you'll receive the best descriptive
information 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 for 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. Be aware that the end time of the period covered by an accumulating archived data set will lag behind real time —the day your are reading this—usually by six to nine months. In a few cases this lag is even greater.
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 is the anticipated PDS schedule for upcoming data releases.
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.