[Spice_announce] HORIZONS is switching to SPK Type 21

Acton, Charles H (392N) charles.h.acton at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Aug 21 11:52:07 PDT 2015

This is important only for those using "small body" SPK files for comets and asteroids produced by JPL's HORIZONS on-line ephemeris generator:   http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/x/spk.html

To improve the accuracy of some comet/asteroid SPK-style ephemeris files produced by JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group, the HORIZONS ephemeris generator will "shortly" produce SPK files only in Type 21 SPK format.  How soon is "shortly" is not known, but this seems likely to be a matter of weeks, not months.  (The planned switch to Type 21 SPK production has been announced via HORIZONS News since July of 2014.)

To use Type 21 SPK files one needs to be using APIs first provided in the current (version N65) Toolkit, released in July 2014.  You need not change your code, just re-link your code to the N65 Toolkit.  Re-linking your SPICE-aware application program to the appropriate N65 Toolkit should be straightforward for most users. Be sure to read the README instructions that accompany each Toolkit package regarding installation.
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