3. Compile and Test Tudat Libraries

To make use of the Tudat libraries, you need to compile them. Below we will guide you through this process. In case you run into trouble while compiling, open a Github issue explaining your problem, stating your operating system, compiler, and any output of the process you have that may help us to solve the issue.


When attaching output, always put it into a text file, not a screenshot, making sure to copy all information in the Compile Output (if the error occurs during compilation) or the Application Output (if the error occurs when running an application).

Step 1: Open Qt Creator
Launch the Qt Creator application that you installed. If any windows pop-up offering to help you get started, launch tutorials etc., hit Cancel. This should bring you into the editor.
Step 2: Open the project

The next step is to open the CMake project of the tudatBundle. Click on Open File or Project... from the File drop-down menu. Navigate to where you extracted your Tudat Bundle, and navigate to the tudatBundle folder. Within this directory, you will see a file called CMakeLists.txt. This is the main project file for any CMake project. Click on Open, after selecting the CMakeLists.txt file.


Please note that you can safely ignore any git-related errors/warnings that Qt Creator throws. Example: Cannot run “git rev-parse –git-dir” in “C:tudatBundle”.


If you are a Windows user, please check again whether your Tudat bundle folder is in the root directory of your hard drive (e.g. C:\tudatBundle), as explained in the previous part of the installation guide. If this is not the case, remove the bundle and clone it again, but now right under C:\ (or D:\, E:\, etc.). Failing to adhere to these instructions can cause errors further down the road and may cost you a lot of effort and time!

Step 3: Configure project

You will now get a ‘Configure Project’ screen. Leave all settings to default, and click Configure Project.

The process of configuring the Tudat project and the required libraries will now be started. You will see output generated in the General messages box at the bottom of your screen, that will look something similar to:

-- The C compiler identification is GNU 4.8.4
-- The CXX compiler identification is GNU 4.8.4
-- Check for working C compiler: /usr/bin/cc
-- Check for working C compiler: /usr/bin/cc -- works
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting C compile features
-- Detecting C compile features - done
-- Check for working CXX compiler: /usr/bin/c++
-- Check for working CXX compiler: /usr/bin/c++ -- works
-- Detecting CXX compiler ABI info
-- Detecting CXX compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting CXX compile features
-- Detecting CXX compile features - done
-- /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/tudatBundle/tudat/Tudat/External/CMake/
-- /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/tudatBundle
-- BOOST: Using gnu.
-- Downloading boost 1.60.0 to /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/build-tudatBundle-Desktop-Default
-- [download 0% complete]
-- .......
-- [download 100% complete]
-- Extracting boost 1.60.0 to /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/build-tudatBundle-Desktop-Default/boost_unzip
-- Building b2 (bjam)
-- ./bootstrap.sh;--with-toolset=gcc
-- Build boost (note that this may take a while, please sit back)
-- ./b2;link=static;threading=multi;runtime-link=shared;--build-dir=Build;stage;-d+2;--hash;--ignore-site-config;variant=release;cxxflags=-fPIC;cxxflags=-std=c++11;--layout=tagged;toolset=gcc;-sNO_BZIP2=1;--with-filesystem;--with-system;--with-thread;--with-regex;--with-date_time;--with-test
-- Building CSpice from within TudatBundle.
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- JsonCpp Version: 1.6.5
-- Building NRLMSISE00 from within TudatBundle.
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- Building Tudat from within TudatBundle.
-- Tudat Relative path (wrt to project): /tudat/Tudat
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- Using gnucxx compiler.
-- Performing Test CXX_SUPPORTS_CXX11
-- Performing Test CXX_SUPPORTS_CXX11 - Success
-- Found Eigen3: /usr/include/eigen3 (Required is at least version "2.91.0")
-- Boost version: 1.60.0
-- Found the following Boost libraries:
-- date_time
-- system
-- unit_test_framework
-- filesystem
-- regex
-- SPICE disabled!
-- NRLMSISE-00 disabled!
-- Building SatellitePropagatorExamples from within TudatBundle.
-- Relative path (wrt to project): /tudatExampleApplications/satellitePropagatorExamples/SatellitePropagatorExamples
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- Using gnucxx compiler.
-- Boost version: 1.60.0
-- Found the following Boost libraries:
-- thread
-- date_time
-- system
-- unit_test_framework
-- filesystem
-- regex
-- Found Tudat: /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/tudatBundle/tudat/Tudat/.. (Required is at least version "2.0")
-- Building SpiceAndJSON from within TudatBundle.
-- Relative path (wrt to project): /tudatExampleApplications/libraryExamples/SpiceAndJSON
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- Using gnucxx compiler.
-- Boost version: 1.60.0
-- Found the following Boost libraries:
-- thread
-- date_time
-- system
-- unit_test_framework
-- filesystem
-- regex
-- Relative path to Tudat found: /tudat/Tudat
-- Found SPICE: /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/tudatBundle/cspice/include/../..
-- Found JSONCPP: /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/tudatBundle/jsoncpp/include/json/../../include
-- Building TemplateApplication from within TudatBundle.
-- Relative path (wrt to project): /tudatExampleApplications/templateApplication/TemplateApplication
-- WARNING: building release version!
-- Using gnucxx compiler.
-- Boost version: 1.60.0
-- Found the following Boost libraries:
-- thread
-- date_time
-- system
-- unit_test_framework
-- filesystem
-- regex
-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudatClean/build-tudatBundle-Desktop-Default

Depending on your system, boost may or may not be downloaded and compiled by CMake (it typically is). Depending on the speed of your computer and internet connection, this may take anywhere from several to 30 minutes. You can safely ignore CMake warnings about unused variables, specifically manually-specified variables were not used by the project, and warnings about relative paths, such as the one below:

CMake Warning (dev) in tudat/Tudat/Astrodynamics/OrbitDetermination/RotationalDynamicsPartials/CMakeLists.txt:
  Policy CMP0081 is not set: Relative paths not allowed in LINK_DIRECTORIES
  target property.  Run "cmake --help-policy CMP0081" for policy details.
  Use the cmake_policy command to set the policy and suppress this warning.

  Found relative path while evaluating link directories of


This warning is for project developers.  Use -Wno-dev to suppress it.

In case an error occurs during this portion of the installation, copy the full contents of the General Messages tab from Qt (bottom of screen) into a text file and post this with your Github issue.

Before moving on to the next step, check whether your ‘build type’ is set to Default or Release (see red highlight in screenshot below, taken from bottom right of Qt creator). Setting it to Debug is possible, but will lead to substantially longer runtime of your code

Step 4: Updating the Settings (optional)

Before building the libraries, you can modify some of the CMake settings to suit your needs. If you are not sure what your needs are (yet), leave all settings as they are, and proceed to the following step. If you are installing Tudat for the AE4868 course, do not modify the settings. To change the CMake settings, go to Projects->Build->CMake, see screenshot below (note that it may look slightly different, depending on your Qt version/operating system):


Below, we give some examples of changes that you may wish to make:

  • If you do not plan on using the estimation (variational equations propagation, observation models, acceleration partials etc.), you can switch BUILD_WITH_ESTIMATION_TOOLS to OFF.
  • If you plan on using extended precision (i.e. more than 16 significant digits) for either state or time representation, you should switch BUILD_EXTENDED_PRECISION_PROPAGATION_TOOLS to ON.
  • If you plan to use the Pagmo toolbox for optimization, set USE_PAGMO to ON. Note that this will also trigger the compilation several example applications on how to use Pagmo with Tudat.
  • If you want to use Pagmo in combination with the NLopt toolbox for nonlinear optimization, set USE_NLOPT to ON, as well as the option PAGMO_WITH_NLOPT. The latter option enables the Pagmo-NLopt interface which allows for a consistent integration of NLopt within the convenient framework that Pagmo offers.


You can modify the CMake settings at any later point in time, but this may require a rebuild of a significant part of the libraries.

Step 5: Build the libraries

Now all that remains to be done is to build the libraries. Typically, Tudat is compiled using a single core on your system if you leave the settings on default, but considering that most computers nowadays feature dual, quad, or hexa core processors, it is highly recommended to switch on multi-core compilation, as follows (see image below for a 12-core compilation):

  • Open the Project tab;
  • Under the list of project settings, you can see the section Build Steps. Click on Details next to the command line, which opens up a new panel.
  • In this panel, put the following: -jX where you replace X with the number of logical cores that you want to use for compilation.
  • You do not have to save the changes you just made; this is done for you automatically.

It is not recommended to use all cores for compilation. The exact number you can get away with depends on the amount of RAM in your system. As a rule of thumb, a logical core may use up to 2.0-2.5 GB of memory when compiling (but usually less). In case you use too many cores, your physical RAM may become completely exhausted. You will experience this as the computer becoming slow and unresponsive. If you are not sure, be conservative in the number of cores you use. On most systems -j2 or -j3 will be acceptable.

To compile all the libraries, simply click on the ‘hammer’ build icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen (or use the menu Build at the top and select Build all). You will see a Compile Output console window pop-up, showing the status of the build process, as the compiler walks through all the project files, and generates the libraries that we need. Note that the compiler may produce some warnings (indicated by a yellow triangle under Issues), which you can safely ignore. A compiler error (indicated in red under Issues) means that the compilation cannot be finished succesfully. If this occurs, open an issue on Github, providing details on your system (compiler version, operating system), and the full Compile output copied into a text file.


When encountering a compilation error during multi-core compilation, try reinintializing the compilation (clicking the hammer again). If the same errors occurs, and you wish to open an issue, rerun with a SINGLE thread, and post the output that this produces. Multi-core compilation output can often be garbled, and difficult to interpret.

The entire build process could take anywhere from 15 minutes (Linux/Mac modern workstation; 12 threads) to 3-8 hours (Windows; single core), depending on the specifications of your computer. Have patience! It will all work out in the end. Once the build is complete, you’re done! You have now successfully built Tudat and all required libraries on your computer.

Step 6: Running the unit tests

For each part of the code in Tudat, we have written unit tests, which are included in the repository. Before moving on with using Tudat, you should run all the unit tests to ensure that your installation is functioning as it should. To run all unit tests, go to the project tab, and go to the Build Steps block. Write “test” in the Tool Arguments (may be called Additional Arguments) line, as shown below.



The -jX option does not affect testing and can be safely left alone.

Now, go back to your code by clicking on the Edit tab, and click the Compile (hammer) button on the lower left. In the Compile Output console window at the bottom of your screen, you should see all the unit tests being run, with output as follows:

15:15:48: Running steps for project TudatBundle...
15:15:48: Starting: "/usr/bin/make" test
Running tests...
Test project /home/dominicdirkx/Software/tudat/build-tudatBundle-Desktop-Default
Start   1: sofa-test
1/249 Test   #1: sofa-test ............................................................   Passed    0.01 sec
      Start   2: test_AerodynamicMomentAndAerodynamicForce
2/249 Test   #2: test_AerodynamicMomentAndAerodynamicForce ............................   Passed    3.06 sec
      Start   3: test_AerodynamicsNamespace
3/249 Test   #3: test_AerodynamicsNamespace ...........................................   Passed    0.00 sec
      Start   4: test_AerodynamicCoefficientGenerator
4/249 Test   #4: test_AerodynamicCoefficientGenerator .................................   Passed    0.03 sec
      Start   5: test_ExponentialAtmosphere
5/249 Test   #5: test_ExponentialAtmosphere ...........................................   Passed    0.00 sec
      Start   6: test_CustomConstantTemperatureAtmosphere
6/249 Test   #6: test_CustomConstantTemperatureAtmosphere .............................   Passed    0.00 sec
      Start   7: test_TabulatedAtmosphere
7/249 Test   #7: test_TabulatedAtmosphere .............................................   Passed   26.81 sec
      Start   8: test_TabulatedAerodynamicCoefficients
8/249 Test   #8: test_TabulatedAerodynamicCoefficients ................................   Passed    1.37 sec
243/249 Test #243: test_JsonInterfaceTermination ........................................   Passed    0.02 sec
        Start 244: test_JsonInterfaceThrust
244/249 Test #244: test_JsonInterfaceThrust .............................................   Passed    0.01 sec
        Start 245: test_JsonInterfaceTorque
245/249 Test #245: test_JsonInterfaceTorque .............................................   Passed    0.00 sec
        Start 246: test_JsonInterfaceVariable
246/249 Test #246: test_JsonInterfaceVariable ...........................................   Passed    0.01 sec
        Start 247: test_JsonInterfaceObservation
247/249 Test #247: test_JsonInterfaceObservation ........................................   Passed    0.09 sec
        Start 248: test_JsonInterfaceParameter
248/249 Test #248: test_JsonInterfaceParameter ..........................................   Passed    0.05 sec
        Start 249: test_JsonInterfaceSimulationSingleSatelliteVariational
249/249 Test #249: test_JsonInterfaceSimulationSingleSatelliteVariational ...............   Passed    0.09 sec

100% tests passed, 0 tests failed out of 249
Total Test time (real) = 623.61 sec
15:16:48: The process "/usr/bin/make" exited normally.

Depending on your exact compilation settings, and the speed of your system, running the unit tests may take anywhere from several to 30 minutes. Also, depending on your settings, and version of the code, you will run a different number of unit tests.

If the output ends with 100% tests passed, 0 tests failed, all is well and you do not need to take any further action. After running the unit tests, make sure to remove the ‘test’ text that you’ve typed in the project tab. If any tests fail the reader is refered to Failed unit tests.


After running the unit tests, make sure to remove the test text that you’ve typed in the Build Steps; Qt will not compile the code as long as it is there.

Welcome to Tudat! You are now ready to run one of the many example applications that came bundled with Tudat, and get started on setting up your won application. The applications are explained in detail in the tutorials at Tutorials and Documentation. The next and last (optional) part explains you how to set-up a new application or add existing ones to your Tudat Bundle.

Step 7: Run an application

Before moving on to using Tudat for the example applications (or your own application), modify the Build Settings to build only the current application. Now that the unit tests are built and run, there is no need to recompile everything everytime. Only the portions relevant for the specific application under consideration need to be compiled. See the screenshot below for the option to tick that enforces this behaviour.


When (re)running the unit tests, always first recompile the code with the targets set to all. If there is no all tick box, uncheck all other boxes, it will automatically revert to all as default.


For your convenience, we have shipped some example applications for you to play around with. The structure of these applications is discussed in detail in the Application Tutorials.

To select a specific application to run, click on the Build and Run Settings (computer) icon and select your application. For starters, select application_SingleSatellitePropagator. The exact contents and results of this simulation are shown in the Unperturbed Earth-orbiting Satellite tutorial By clicking the Run button (play icon in bottom left), the code will be compiled and the selected application will be executed. The output of your application is displayed in the Application Output box at the bottom of your screen. In addition, a folder ‘SimulationOutput’ will have been created in your /tudatExampleApplications/satellitePropagatorExamples/SatellitePropagatorExamples/ directory, containing the propagation output.

Starting .../tudatBundle/tudatExampleApplications/satellitePropagatorExamples/bin/applications/application_SingleSatellitePropagator...
Single Earth-Orbiting Satellite Example.
The initial position vector of Asterix is [km]:
The initial velocity vector of Asterix is [km/s]:
After 86400 seconds, the position vector of Asterix is [km]:
And the velocity vector of Asterix is [km/s]:
.../tudatBundle/tudatExampleApplications/satellitePropagatorExamples/bin/applications/application_SingleSatellitePropagator exited with code 0