About poliastro


poliastro is an open source collection of Python subroutines for solving problems in Astrodynamics and Orbital Mechanics.

poliastro combines cutting edge technologies like Python JIT compiling (using numba) with young, well developed astronomy packages (like astropy and jplephem) to provide a user friendly API for solving Astrodynamics problems. It is therefore a experiment to mix the best Python open source practices with my love for Orbital Mechanics.

Since I have only solved easy academic problems I cannot assess the suitability of the library for professional environments, though I am aware that at least a company that uses it.


I started poliastro as a wrapper of some MATLAB and Fortran algorithms that I needed for a University project: having good performance was a must, so pure Python was not an option. As a three language project, it was only known to work in my computer, and I had to fight against oct2py and f2py for long hours.

Later on, I enhanced poliastro plotting capabilities to serve me in further University tasks. I removed the MATLAB (Octave) code and kept only the Fortran algorithms. Finally, when numba was mature enough, I implemented everything in pure Python and poliastro 0.3 was born.

Future ideas

These are some things that I would love to implement in poliastro to expand its capabilities:

  • 3D plotting of orbits
  • Continuous thrust maneuvers
  • Tisserand graphs
  • Porkchop plots

About the author

I am Juan Luis Cano Rodríguez (two names and two surnames, it's the Spanish way!), an Aerospace Engineer with a passion for Astrodynamics and the Open Source world. I started poliastro when I was an Erasmus student at Politecnico di Milano, an important technical university in Italy which deeply influenced my life and ambitions and gave name to the library itself. It is and always will be my tiny tribute to a country that will always be in my heart and to people that never ceased to inspire me. Grazie mille!


The latest version of documentation can be found in ReadTheDocs