poliastro is a community project, all contributions are more than welcome!
What you can do¶
Not only things can break, but also different people have different use cases for the project. If you find anything that doesn’t work as expected or have suggestions, please open a new issue on our issue tracker.
Participate in the chat¶
Improve the Documentation¶
Documentation can always be expanded and improved.
The docs are stored in text files under the
and the Python classes and methods also feature inline docs
in the form of docstrings.
Contribute your research scripts¶
We would love to give your Astrodynamics scripts a home!
Please head to our
for further information.
Fix bugs and add new features¶
Code contributions are welcome! If you are looking for a place to start, check out the “good-first-issue” label on our issue tracker. Those tasks should be easier to fix than the others and require less knowledge about the library.
How to contribute¶
Work from GitHub¶
GitHub makes it very easy to make small contributions directly from your browser, without having to install any additional software. To get familiar with the process, you can do this interactive GitHub training. Once you have finished it, you can edit the poliastro source files straight from GitHub and open pull requests from your browser.
For more complex contributions, it will be more effective to set up a local development environment and work from your own computer.
The most important thing is to understand how Git works. Git is a decentralized version control system that preserves the history of the software, helps tracking changes and allows for multiple versions of the code to exist at the same time. To learn more, you can have a look at this Getting Started guide.
Finally, you might want to have an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that makes editing the source files easier. If you are hesitant on what IDE or editor to use, have a look at PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, or Spyder.
Work from a cloud environment¶
There are some cloud options that give you the flexibility of a powerful IDE with a terminal, all from your web browser so you don’t have to install anything. Two popular cloud environments for development are the GitHub web editor and Gitpod.
Command line instructions¶
In the sections below you can read step-by-step guides to perform common development tasks on the command line. All these instructions are meant for UNIX-like operating systems, for example:
Linux (any distribution will work)
Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
Set up a development environment¶
To set up a development environment you will need Git and Python up and running. You should only need to do this once!
Start by setting up Git:
Install Git on your computer.
Clone your fork (remote name will be
git remote add upstream https://github.com/poliastro/poliastro.gitand fetch its information with
git fetch upstream
mainbranch to track
git branch --set-upstream-to=upstream/main
Next, configure your Python environment:
Install Python for development.
Create a Python virtual environment using
python -m venv .venv
Activate it using
Upgrade the development dependencies using
python -m pip install -U pip setuptools wheel flit tox
Install the code in development mode using
python -m pip install -e .(this means that the installed code will change as soon as you change it in the download location).
And with this, you will be ready to start contributing!
Pull request workflow¶
Every time you want to contribute some code or documentation to poliastro, you will need to follow these steps:
Make sure that your
mainbranch is up to date:
git switch main(or
git checkout main) and
git pull --rebase upstream main
Create a new branch using
git switch --create descriptive-name-of-my-change.
Make your changes!
Commit your changes using
git commit -m 'Add new awesome feature'.
One branch corresponds to one pull request. This means that, if you keep committing and pushing changes to the same branch, the pull request will update automatically (you don’t need to open a new one!).
When your pull request is merged, you can:
git switch mainand
git pull --rebase upstream main
Delete your local branch:
git branch --delete descriptive-name-of-my-change
Refresh your fork:
git fetch --prune originand
git push origin main
Remember that, whenever you want to start a new pull request, you need to start from step 1.
Build the documentation¶
To build the docs, run:
(.venv) $ cd docs (.venv) $ make html
After this, the new docs will be inside
build/html. You can open them
by running an HTTP server:
$ cd build/html $ python -m http.server Serving HTTP on 0.0.0.0 port 8000 ...
And point your browser to http://0.0.0.0:8000.
Make code changes¶
You want to contribute new features or fix existing behavior? You are awesome! Before rushing out though, make sure if the new feature you propose is within the scope of the library (best thing is to ask in the chat) or that the fix you want to apply has a corresponding issue in the issue tracker.
Apart from all the steps described above, you need to have these extra things in mind:
Add tests to your code. You have lots of examples in the
tests/directory to get inspiration from. All new features and fixes should be tested, and in the ideal case the coverage rate should increase or stay the same.
To check if your code is correct, run
tox -e reformat,check,py39-fast(
py39stands for Python 3.9, you can replace it by
Notice that you can run a subset of the tests by passing extra arguments to pytest, for example running
tox -e py39-fast -- -k "anomaly"
Automatic services will ensure your code works on all the supported operating systems and Python versions.