NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) generates planetary and lunar ephemeris data and FORTRAN routines that allow users to obtain state data for the Sun, the moon, and the planets. The JPL Solar System Ephemeris Toolbox, developed at Kennedy Space Center, is a set of functions that provides the same functionality in the MATLAB computing environment along with some additional capabilities. The toolbox can be used interactively via a graphical user interface (GUI), or individual functions can be called from the MATLAB command prompt or other MATLAB scripts and functions. The toolbox also includes utility functions to define and perform coordinate transformation (e.g., mean-of-date, true-of-date, J2000) that are common in the use of these ephemerides. An attached README file guides the user through the process of constructing binary ephemeris files, verifying correct installation, and using functions to extract state data. This process also can be performed using the GUI. Help from each toolbox function is available through MATLAB's 'help' function. Many of the functions in the toolbox are MATLAB equivalents of the JPL-written FORTRAN programs and subroutines used for the same purposes. A novice can use the GUI to extract state data, while a more experienced user can use the functions directly, as needed, in his/her applications. The toolbox has been tested using MATLAB Releases 13 and 14.

This program was written by Charles F. Walker of Kennedy Space Center. For further information, access . KSC-12544

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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