Python wrapper around the NAIF CSPICE library
Python C
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SPICE toolkit Python Module

Python wrapper around the NAIF CSPICE library. Released under the BSD license, see LICENSE for details.

Building PySPICE

First, download the cspice toolkit and extract it to the directory "cspice" in this directory right alongside the file. Once the cspice source is there, run like so:

python build_ext

Then install:

python install

64 bit vs 32 bit

CSPICE is published in both 64 and 32 bit versions. Make sure that you compile PySPICE with a Python bit architecture that fits to the CSPICE you have downloaded, otherwise you will get warnings at compile time (not so bad) and errors of missing links in the library at run time (basically, you can't import spice.

Manual Instructions

Though it shouldn't be necessary, here are the old step-by-step instructions.

In order to build this module, first generate the extension code using the script. This is done running with the path to the CSPICE toolkit directory as an argument and redirecting the output to "spicemodule.c":

python /path/to/cspice > spicemodule.c

Once the C file is generated, the module can be compiled:

python build_ext -I/path/to/cspice/include -L/path/to/cspice/lib

Then the module can be installed using:

python install --prefix=/installation/path

If the installation path used is not standard, add the path to your PYTHONPATH environment variable. In bash:

export PYTHONPATH=/installation/path/lib/python<version>/site-packages:${PYTHONPATH}

or *csh:

setenv PYTHONPATH /installation/path/lib/python<version>/site-packages:${PYTHONPATH}


berto:~$ python Python 2.4.2 (#2, Sep 30 2005, 21:19:01) [GCC 4.0.2 20050808 (prerelease) (Ubuntu 4.0.1-4ubuntu8)] on linux2 Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information. >>> from spice import * >>> furnsh("/home/berto/tmp/insitu/kernels/") >>> utc2et("2004-06-11T19:32:00") 140254384.18462521

Some things to keep in mind

The python wrapper drops the _c suffix in all function names, so the function utc2et_c becomes utc2et.

Also, the CSPICE toolkit passes both inputs and outputs into a SPICE function:

SpiceDouble et;
SpiceChar * utc = "2004-06-11T19:32:00";

utc2et_c(utc, &et);

printf("et: %f\n", et);

But, in Python, the outputs are returned:

utc = "2004-06-11T19:32:00"

et = utc2et(utc)

print "et: %f" % et

If a function returns multiple values they are returned in a tuple:

target_pos, light_time = spkpos(target, sc_et, frame, aberration, sc_name)

print "light time: %f" % light_time
print "xyz: [%e, %e, %e]" % target_pos

In the case above, the target position and light time are returned in a tuple. Additionally, target_pos itself is a tuple; its individual elements can be accessed like this:

print "x position: %d" % target_pos[0]

Tuples act just like arrays.