The ESA SPICE Service (ESS) at the European Space Astronomy Center of the European Space Agency (ESAC/ESA) announces a "SPICE" Training class that will be held by NASA's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) at ESAC in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain, on April 18-21, 2023.



SPICE is an ancillary information system providing scientists and engineers access to spacecraft orbit, attitude and similar information needed to determine observation geometry used in planning and analyzing space science observations. SPICE is frequently used for mission engineering functions as well. Check http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/spice/ for further information about SPICE at ESA and http://naif.jpl.nasa.gov/ for further information about SPICE. The SPICE system was conceived for and remains primarily focused on solar system exploration (planetary) missions, but has also proven useful for a variety of other purposes. 



This class will be very similar to the domestic SPICE classes held by NAIF. It should be considered a "beginner´s" class. If you have taken a previous class, this class might not be best suited for you unless you need a refresher on some of the basics of SPICE. The class is intended for those who will write software that will make use of SPICE data. People not intending to do programming using SPICE software may not find this class useful. Note that the focus is mostly on using (and not producing) kernels to determine various kinds of mission geometry.

The class will interleave presentations of SPICE tutorials by the NAIF staff and "open-book" programming lessons undertaken by the students using their own laptop computers. The programming lessons are broken into chunks of increasing complexity, and come complete with needed data, tips, references, correct answers, and NAIF's own code solutions. The NAIF and ESAC staff will answer questions and offer assistance as students work through these programming exercises.



The Class will begin on Tuesday 18th of April at 11:00h and will end on Friday 21st of April at 14:00h:

  • Tuesday
    • 10:00h Bus from Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloa) to ESAC
    • 10:45h Registration desk open
    • 11:00h Classroom open
    • 12:00h Start of class
    • 18:20h End of class 
    • 18:30h Bus from ESAC to Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloa)
  • Wednesday and Thursday
    • 08:30h Bus from Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloa) to ESAC 
    • 09:15h Classroom open 
    • 09:45h Start of class 
    • 18:20h End of class 
    • 18:30h Bus from ESAC to Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloa)
  • Friday
    • 08:30h Bus from Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloato ESAC 
    • 09:15h Classroom open
    • 09:45h Start of class
    • 12:15h End of class 
    • 14:30h Bus from ESAC to Madrid (Hotel Exe Moncloaand Taxis to airport

We will have a coffee break in the morning (~11:15h) and a coffee break in the afternoon (~16:30h). There will be one hour for lunch (13:30h-14:30h Spanish time). ESAC has a Canteen facility with plentiful of options for lunch. If you have any special dietary needs please let us know. The Menu for the training will be made available at the registration desk.

The detailed agenda of the training will be available soon.

Arrangements for a Taxi service from ESAC to the Airport can be arranged at the class registration on Tuesday or during the training week. 



Some familiarity with writing programs in one of the offered languages—Fortran 77, C, IDL, MATLAB and Python—and in building and running executables on the laptop brought by the student, is needed to make this class useful. It would also be helpful, but not mandatory, if the student has some prior experience in dealing with "space mission geometry." It is sometimes helpful if two or three student colleagues share a computer and work each programming lesson together—it's your choice.

Details on the pre-requisites of the Practical lessons will be provided soon.

Important rules regarding use of SPICE are published under the "Rules" section of the NAIF webpages 'http://naif.jpl.nasa.gov/naif/rules.html'. Potential attendees should read and understand these rules before registering for the class.



ESA recommends you to stay at the Hotel Exe Moncloa, close to the center of Madrid and 25 minutes away from ESAC by car and 50 minutes away from the Airport via Underground. 

Please note that the Hotel is just a recommendation and we have no commercial relationship with the Hotel nor we can guarantee reduced fees or room availability (room fees are very good), we recommend you to book the Hotel as soon as possible. To do so you can directly contact the Hotel: https://www.exehotels.com/exe-moncloa.html or alternatively you can do it via Booking: https://www.booking.com/hotel/es/exe-moncloa

More indications on how to get to ESAC can be found in the following link: 


We will provide a free bus service from the Hotel door (Calle Arciprestre de Hita, 10, 28015, Madrid) to ESAC every day of the Training, the pick-up and drop-off times will be adapted to the training schedule.


There is no registration fee for this class, but attendees will be responsible for their own travel related expenses. The class is oriented to all persons who are now participating —or may participate in the future— in any space exploration project related activity specially ExoMars2016, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, JUICE, EnVision or Herawhere SPICE capabilities could be useful. 

Registration is required in order to ensure availability of a seat. Registration confirmation will be sent before April 5, 2023. Please register ASAP. Firm commitments about attending will be required no later than April 5, 2023. ESA reserves the right to cancel the class at any time if need be. Also reserved is the right to filter registrations to keep the class to a manageable size.

The Registration form is available here.



All the training resources after the class close-out can be found here.



Questions about the class or about registration should be directed to:

Alfredo Escalante Lopez, alfredo.escalante.lopez@ext.esa.int, spice@sciops.esa.int  

This page was last updated on 10 January 2023.