How do I create central bodies using SPICE files?


QuestionHow do I create central bodies using SPICE files?

Creating a New Central Body from a SPICE File

License Required: Astrogator
Additional Software Required: STK Planetary Data Supplement, which can be downloaded from
  1. Copy the SPICE file (*.bsp) into one of the following folders:
  • <STK install folder>\STKData\Spice (Preferred folder for easier  management of SPICE files.)
  • <STK user area>\Config\Spice
  • <Scenario folder>\<Spice folders>
where <STK install folder> refers to the directory path that is the parent of STKData, <STK user area> refers to the user's configuration folders, and <scenario folder> refers to the scenario directory.  
  • SPICE files use identifiers for a given body since a single SPICE file may contain information about multiple objects.
  • We highly recommend having only one SPICE file with data for a particular body in the \STKData\Spice directory at any given time.
  1. Restart STK to read the new file.
  2. From the Utilities menu,  select Component Browser...
  3. Select the Central Bodies folder and duplicate one of the editable central bodies (for example, Ceres).
  4. Enter an appropriate Name and User Comment.
  5. Double-click on your new central body and select JPL_SPICE from the Ephemeris field  drop-down list.
NoteNote: If JPL_SPICE is not an entry in the drop-down list, click  User-added image next to the Ephemeris field, choose JPL SPICE, and click User-added image to make it an available Ephemeris option for this Central Body. Return to the Central Body properties window.
  1. Enter the SPICE identification number for your custom Central Body in the JPL SPICE field. STK can now use the ephemeris data corresponding to that identifier for your new central body.
  2. Save your scenario. The new central body will now be available for the current scenario only. To make it available for ALL scenarios, you need to copy the CentralBodies folder from the saved  scenario location to the  <STK install folder>\STKData\CentralBodies  or  <STK user area\Config\CentralBodies. Now you can select this Central Body  anywhere you find the list of Central Bodies in STK.
Note that to use this body appropriately throughout STK, you must enter correct values for other parameters on the Central Body properties panel, such as GM, Parent, Gravity Models, Shape, and Attitude.
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