Making Orbital Mechanics More Accessible With Poliastro


November 27th, 2021

58 mins 59 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode


Outer space holds a deep fascination for people of all ages, and the key principle in its exploration both near and far is orbital mechanics. Poliastro is a pure Python package for exploring and simulating orbit calculations. In this episode Juan Luis Cano Rodriguez shares the story behind the project, how you can use it to learn more about space travel, and some of the interesting projects that have used it for planning planetary and interplanetary missions.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Juan Luis Cano Rodriguez about Poliastro, an open source library for interactive Astrodynamics and Orbital Mechanics, with a focus on ease of use, speed, and quick visualization.


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you describe what Poliastro is and the story behind it?
  • What are some of the simulations that Poliastro is designed to be used for?
  • How much knowledge of orbital mechanics is necessary to get started with Poliastro?
  • Can you describe how the project is implemented?
    • How have the goals and design of the project changed or evolved since you first started it?
  • What are some of the design philosophies that you focus on to make the package accessible to the range of users that you support?
  • Can you talk through the workflow of using Poliastro to do something like track the path of the ISS and its traversal of the debris field from the recent satellite destruction?
  • What are some of the other libraries or frameworks that are commonly used with Poliastro?
  • How are you using Poliastro in your own work?
  • What are some overlooked or underused aspects of the project that you would like to highlight?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen Poliastro used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on Poliastro?
  • When is Poliastro the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Poliastro?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA