SPICE is an information system the purpose of which is to provide scientists the observation geometry needed to plan scientific observations and to analyze the data returned from those observations. SPICE is comprised of a suite of data files, often called kernels, and software -mostly subroutines. A customer incorporates a few of the subroutines into his/her own program that is built to read SPICE data and compute needed geometry parameters for whatever task is at hand. Examples of the geometry parameters typically computed are range or altitude, latitude and longitude, phase, incidence and emission angles, instrument pointing calculations, and reference frame and coordinate system conversions. SPICE is also very adept at time conversions.

SPICE was developed and is maintained by the Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) team of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Export of SPICE data, software and expertise is not restricted under U.S. law. SPICE software is available in Fortran 77 (SPICELIB), C (CSPICE), IDL (icy) and Matlab (Mice).

This multi-mission capability has been used for more than 20 years now on many NASA missions. More recently, scientists who work with data from ESA's planetary missions (Mars Express, Venus Express, Rosetta, Smart-1, BepiColombo, ExoMars 2016 and JUICE) use SPICE to analyse their data.

Training workshops focused on how to use SPICE software and data are occasionally offered at ESAC. Future workshops will be announced here. You may also contact the ESA SPICE Team.

To read more about the SPICE system, you can go to the official home, hosted by NAIF.



The ESA SPICE Service leads the SPICE operations for ESA missions. The group operates software to convert ESA orbit, attitude and spacecraft clock correlation data into the corresponding SPICE formats and provides consultancy and support to the Science Ground Segments of the planetary missions for SPICE and ancillary data management. In partnership with NAIF the group works to produce SPICE kernels and SPICE based services. The ESA SPICE Service also provides consultation on use of SPICE for ESA scientists.




The following links provide access to operational kernels for ESA's missions:


Archived kernels in PDS3 and PDS4 standards for ESA missions hosted by the Planetary Science Archive (PSA):



WebGeocalc is a web-based graphical user interface to many of the observation geometry computations available for the "SPICE" system. 

More information can be found here.


Cosmograhpia is an interactive tool used to produce 3D visualization of a given Planetary mission; spacecraft trajectories and orientations, instrument Field-of-views and footprints. Cosmographia for ESA Planetary missions is available here.


Training workshops focused on how to use SPICE software and data are occasionally offered at ESAC. Future workshops will be announced here.


For any question/suggestion about these pages, or SPICE for the ESA missions in general, please contact the ESA SPICE Service.