|In 1982 The National
Research Council's Committee on Data Management and Computation (CODMAC)
issued a report [Ref 1] detailing problems with and providing recommendations
for the archival treatment of data returned from NASA's Space Science
Missions. Included in this report was an admonition to properly collect
and archive the ancillary (engineering) information needed to fully
and correctly interpret data returned from space science instruments.
to the CODMAC report NASA convened a Planetary Data Workshop [Ref.
2], chaired by Dr. Hugh Kieffer of the United States Geological
Survey, Astrogeology Branch. Discussions by interested scientists
at and subsequent to this meeting resulted in the concept-unnamed
at that point-of carefully archiving the fundamental ancillary data
sets that are needed to derive the viewing geometry parameters such
as lighting angles and latitude/longitude typically needed in analyzing
space science data.
In the months
following the Workshop the concept was further articulated under
the leadership of Dr. Kieffer. At that moment NASA Headquarters
was forming a number of "pilot" space science data systems
to implement the CODMAC recommendations. Associated with the
Pilot Planetary Data System was an ancillary information system.
The leader of this activity, Charles Acton, worked with Kieffer
and the other scientists, and new staff members, to refine the ancillary
information system concept. Kieffer coined the "SPICE"
acronym to identify the major system components, and the SPICE
system was born.
The first efforts
at implementing SPICE components were undertaken in conjunction
with support for Voyager instrument teams as a proof of concept
demonstration. A small number of improved instrument pointing estimates
were made for already available ancillary data from the Jupiter
and Saturn flybys. Image navigation (improving the pointing estimates
for images based on observed target body locations within the images)
was conducted in near-real time during the Neptune and Uranus flybys.
The formats of the ancillary files designed during these demonstrations
did not survive, but the lessons learned helped guide the design
of modern SPICE kernels.
The first official, albeit partial, use of SPICE technology occurred on the
Magellan mission to Venus; here the Navigation Team produced spacecraft
orbit data in the SPICE SPK format that is still in use today.
Based in part on the success with Magellan, but also a
consequence of timing, the Mars Observer and Galileo projects both
conducted studies to determine if the SPICE approach to dealing with
ancillary data should replace the then current Supplemental Experiment
Data Records (SEDR) system. The science and management teams for both
projects determined the change to SPICE was appropriate. SPICE became
the defacto standard for providing ancillary data to NASA's solar
system exploration missions.
The nascent SPICE system was focused on assisting scientists with
data analysis tasks, but it was quickly realized by the space
exploration community that the design characteristics of SPICE made it
equally suitable for use in mission design, mission operations, and
observation planning. Today SPICE is routinely used in all phases of
planetary missions, and portions of SPICE are increasingly
being used on other types of space science missions.
Ref. 1: "Data
Management and Computation; Volume 1 - Issues and Recommendations;"
Committee on Data Management and Computation, Space Science Board,
Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Processes, National Research
Council; published by National Academy Press; 1982.
Ref. 2: Proceedings
of the "Planetary Data Workshop;" Greenbelt Md.; November
29 - December 1, 1983; edited by Dr. H. Kieffer, USGS Astrogeology
Branch; NASA Conference Publication 2343 (Parts 1 and 2).