SPICE Data Catalog

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A “SPICE data” catalog file specifies all the SPICE kernels that need to be loaded to run a visualization for a particular mission. This is an example of a SPICE data catalog file listing  CASSINI SPICE data:

   "version": "1.0",
   "name": "Cosmographia CASSINI Example",
   "spiceKernels": [
Note that SPICE data catalogs can load SPICE meta-kernels, as shown in this example, as well as individual SPICE kernels.
The version and name attributes are set to the catalog format/content version (must be “1.0”) and the internal name of the catalog file.
The spiceKernels attribute lists the names of the SPICE kernels and/or meta-kernels to be used for the mission of interest. The total number of SPICE kernels is limited only by SPICE capabilities. Loading a large number of SPICE kernels (hundreds or thousands) lengthens loading time but normally does not affect visualization speed. Note the following:
  • Use and maintenance of this kind of catalog file tends to be easier with the use of SPICE meta-kernels rather than individual SPICE files.
  • Multiple kernel/meta-kernel names in the list must be separated by commas (this follows the catalog convention for an array).
  • Individual kernels and meta-kernels provided in the list must be loadable from the directory in which the catalog file resides. For meta-kernels this means that kernels included in them must use correct relative and/or absolute paths.
  • When using SPICE data from the PDS’ NAIF Node archive, multiple meta-kernel versions for a mission, or for each year of a mission, may exist. In this case, use only the latest version meta-kernel for the mission or for a given year.
A more detailed description of some of the parameters in this catalog file is provided in the “CATALOG FILE SETTING UP USE OF SPICE DATA” section of the Cosmographia-SPICE User’s Guide.