SpiceyPy is currently supported on Mac, Linux, and Windows systems.

If you are new to python, it is a good idea to read a bit about it first For new installations of python, it is encouraged to install and or update: pip, setuptools, wheel, numpy, six, certifi:

pip install -U pip setuptools wheel
pip install -U numpy six certifi

Then to install SpiceyPy, simply run:

pip install spiceypy

If you use anaconda/miniconda/conda run:

conda install -c spiceypy

If no error was returned you have successfully installed SpiceyPy. To verify this you can list the installed packages via this pip command:

pip list

You should see spicepy in the output of this command. Or you can start a python interpreter and try importing SpiceyPy like so:

import spiceypy

# print out the toolkit version installed

This should print out the toolkit version without any errors. You have now verified that SpiceyPy is installed.

Common Issues

SSL Alert Handshake Issue

In early 2017, JPL updated to a TLS1.2 certificate and enforced https connections causing installation issues for users, in particular for macOS users, with OpenSSL versions older than 1.0.1g. This is because older versions of OpenSSL still distributed in some environments which are incompatible with TLS1.2. As of late 2017 SpiceyPy has been updated with a strategy that can mitigate this issue on some systems, but it may not be totally reliable due to known deficiencies in setuptools and pip.

Another solution is to configure a new python installation that is linked against a newer version of OpenSSL, the easiest way to do this is to install python using homebrew, once this is done spiceypy can be installed to this new installation of python (IMHO this is the best option).

If your python 3.6 distribution was installed from the packages available at an included command Install Certificates.command should be run before attempting to install SpiceyPy again. That command installs the certifi package that can also be install using pip.

Alternatively, installing an anaconda or miniconda python distribution and installing SpiceyPy using the conda command above is another possible work around.

Users continuing to have issues should report an issue to the github repository.

Supporting links:

How to install from source (for bleeding edge updates)


If you have used the pip or conda install commands above you do not need to do any of the following commands. Installing from source is intended for advanced users. Users on machines running Windows should take note that attempting to install from source will require software such as visual studio and additonal environment configuration. Given the complexity of this Windows users are highly encouraged to stick with the releases made available through PyPi/Anaconda Cloud.

If you wish to install from source, first simply clone the repository by running the following in your favorite shell:

git clone

If you do not have git, you can also directly download the source code from the GitHub repo for SpiceyPy at

To install the library, simply change into the root directory of the project and then run:

python install

The installation script will download the appropriate version of the SPICE toolkit for your system, and will build a shared library from the included static library files. Then the installation script will install SpiceyPy along with the generated shared library into your site-packages directory.