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Recovering Ships in space?
Hi I have sent some ships in orbit but I seem to never have enough fuel to recover my astonauts. Is there a way to recover them?

I am in career mode and I do not have much tech yet :(

I really do not want to Terminate them casue 1) there is science on them and 2) my Kerbal lives. lol
Last edited by JamesJB; 20 Dec, 2013 @ 6:51am


Alright guys, before we launch Darren into the black hole V404-Cygni it's time to run our test mission - a manned mission to the moon in Kerbal Space Program.


Ahaha, Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars! Kerbal Space Program is a simulator where you design your own ships and develop your own Space Program. We've looked at it several times before as it has been available in early form since 2011, but it just finally reached version 1.0, that is to say, it's finished.


Yeah, the game manages to take some pretty big science-y ideas and concepts and make them surprisingly accessible!


Yeah, and these manoeuvre nodes are life savers. You just place them on your trajectory and use them to figure out your next move, like when and where you need to fire your engines if you want to get to the moon.


Affirmative. Planning out such manoeuvres without them would be extremely complicated! For humans at least.


Still, it's all pretty advanced stuff and it took us awhile to get our head around the controls and some of the concepts. So I'd say this is more for older spawnlings or at least those willing to put in the time to learn. Let's just start up the sandbox mode and quickly build a ship to get us there without the whole space program.


Unacceptable! I need you and Bajo to know what you're doing if you're going to launch me into a Black Hole.


Fine, walk us through setting up our space program.


Ahaha, ok, so this is our space centre where we'll build our various hangers, launch pads, administrative and scientific buildings. Our overall mission is to gather scientific data and secure enough funding to research more advanced technologies. Then we can build craft sophisticated enough to take us safely to the moon and beyond.


Ohh so it's like a business manager too? That's cool. Alright Darren, let's get us some sweet scientific data and funding! Uhh, how do we get us some sweet data and funding?


However you like Bajo! There are various contracts to take on such as testing equipment or ferrying tourists into space, which can provide science and funds upon completion. Or you could just set out on your own missions. By simply reaching new destinations and doing experiments you'll be granted veritable bounties of data and funds!


Hmm, that feels a little unguided, but I guess the contracts do ease you into gradually exploring more complex ideas and missions.


Yeah, some might feel a little lost at times and think 'what do I do now?' But it's great that they give you such freedom to approach the sandbox anyway you like! You just set yourself a goal, like getting to the moon, and you try and accomplish it.


Yeah true. But at the moment we barely have any parts so we can only build very basic ships, so we're not going to get very far with these.


Well Hex, our own backyard is a great place to start experimenting. You could even just take a crew report and do a study on the mystery goo while you're on the launch pad. Easy data! Also, with your ship fully intact on the launch pad you can recover all the parts for no cost! Efficient science is good science!


That's clever how it gives you back funds for parts you can recover. It definitely encourages you to consider how re-usable your rocket designs are and that is a big consideration in real space programs. But we didn't start a space program just to sit around on the launch pad. Let's get into orbit and do some real science!


Ahahah, affirmative, so here's a little science ship I prepared for us! Prepare for countdown. 10... 9...


321 liftoff!


Bajo! I personally like how there's such a focus on doing experiments. There's something just so satisfying about fitting out your ship with all sorts of sensors and equipment and then getting that data back home for analysis. Ahaha oh I do love Data Analysis, it's even in my name!


Yeah, and its clever how you get so much more science back if you actually recover your craft compared to just transmitting the data. It's a tricky trade off where a one-way probe is useful, but it's much better, if harder, to pull off a return trip.


Yeah, but I think we've got enough research now to attempt our moon landing!


Affirmative. Ok team, for our moon mission we'll need a Lander that can safely land on the moon, and have enough fuel to make it back of course.


Ok, how's this look Darren?


Hmmm, well it should do the trick. We'll have to be careful not to use too much fuel on our descent as your Lander's fuel supply is quite limited! Also you might want ladders.


Ahh, it'll be fine! 321 liftoff! Alright, launch successful! Orbit achieved. Laying in a course for moon intercept, and burning engines!


Excellent work Bajo!


Ohhh! We're doing it! Ok, we're approaching the moon Darren!


Now, just put us in a stable orbit!


Ok, moon orbit achieved!


Good, now commence final decent and landing sequence, nice and easy Bajo.


Ohhh this is so tense! I can't watch!


Alright, we're almost there guys! Almost there! And... Touchdown, the eagle has landed!!


Ok, it's time to leave the capsule if you dare! That's one small step for Kerbal, one giant leap for kerbal kind.


Plant a flag and let's name this, Darren's Crater. Now let's just do some experiments and get this kerbal home.


Ok, returning to the command pod. Uhhh, oh... uhh Darren, we have a problem.


What? What's wrong Hex?


Well, I just checked our fuel supply and it's pretty low!


Oh dear, according to my calculations, we don't have enough to get him home!


What?! Can't we just revert the flight? Load a quicksave?!


No we can't! The revert flight option is greyed out! And I already quicksaved after we landed!


Oh no! Does that mean he's stuck up there?


Not if I have anything to do with it Hex! I haven't lost a Kerbal yet under my command and I don't plan on starting now.


Actually, Bajo you've lost quite a few kerbals according to my records!


I meant today Darren, I meant today! Don't worry little Kerbal, we're going to get you home safe! Hold on tight! Ok team, we need to figure out a rescue plan!




OK! I have it! Here's the plan: we'll send an empty command pod, but we'll use an additional automated command pod to pilot it. Then we'll land it as close as possible to him, he can jump out of his pod and transfer to the empty pod. Then bada-bing bada-boom, we launch him out of there and get him home!


That's crazy enough that it just might work Bajo! Alright Darren, I think we're going to need your precision flying skills to land us as close as we need to be!


Ok, I'm assuming control. I don't wanna close my eyes!


I don't want to fall asleep, cause I miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing!


Why are we singing Darren?


Oh, it helps me relax. Ground control to major Darrren. You've really made the gradeeeeee. Ahem... Our new lander is approaching the landing site.


Easy does it Darren.


We're too far off! Get closer!


And I'm floating in the most, peculiar wayyyyyy...


Almost there!


Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can doooooo! Ahaha ok, I think that's as close as I can get! Commencing landing! And... we have touchdown!


Nice work Darren, let's get this kerbal home! Commencing EVA.


Oh there's the lander! Alright, it looks like there's plenty of fuel! And away we go! He's going to make it guys!


Well don't speak too soon, he still needs to survive re-entry! You did put a heat shield on that thing right Bajo?


A heat shield?


Yes, a heat shield. Oh my, you forgot didn't you? Temperatures can hit one and a half thousand degrees on re-entry!


Seriously Bajo?


I'm sure it'll be fine. Mostly fine anyway. Ok, he's coming in now! Oh, it's getting a bit hot!


Oh no! He blew up!


No look! That was just the fuel tanks - he's going to be ok! I think he's going to make it! Parachutes have deployed safely and, he's home! Ahahah, we did it! We did it!


See guys, I told you it would be fine!


Yeah, that was tense. After all that, what do you think of the game Bajo?


Well, I really like this game! It is super tough though, like we said and unless you're already a rocket scientist, you're going to fail more than you succeed. You're going to blow up, or run out of fuel, or get vaporized on re-entry and or float off into the abyss of space! Everything can and will go wrong.


But every failure is a lesson! You see what worked with your mission and what went wrong, then its back to the drawing board to attempt to fix it.


Absolutely, and the fact that you fail so much makes it so much sweeter when you succeed. There's just so much jeopardy and tension with every mission!


Yeah, there's just such a great sense of accomplishment in a game. I'm giving it four and a half out of five stars.


I'm giving it a perfect five stars.

Kerbal Space Program

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Developer: Squad
Publisher: Squad
Total score: 9.5 out of 10 stars
- HEX: 5
- BAJO: 4.5



A mod rocket called Recover Craft Minmus(2x). Built with 95 of the finest parts, part is probeStackSmall. Built in the VAB in KSP version

In the cold vacuum of space, miles above the planet surface, I am guiding my tiny space ship toward the airlock of another vessel. To dock, our orbits have to align precisely, but the variables are terrifying. I have built the craft myself, out of myriad components, and I don’t know if it’ll hold up out here in the vast indifferent nothingness.

I progress forward anyway, nudging the thrusters with just enough vigour to connect with the airlock, but not enough to cause a mid-flight collision that will end the lives of my crew. In space, there is always risk and reward. The reward for me is to stay alive – and to get home.

The fortunate part is that, actually, I am at home. I am on a computer playing a game called Kerbal Space Program. And there’s always another spacecraft to build and crash.

Fantasy v simulation

Video games are obsessed with space travel. From the seminal 1961 title SpaceWar – one of the first games ever made – to modern science fiction odysseys like Mass Effect and Halo, the idea of exploring distant galaxies has proved incredibly seductive.

But authentic space simulators, offering a purer, more complex and authentic interactive experience, are much rarer. Since Apollo 18 hit the Commodore 64 in 1987, there have been a couple of dozen maybe, often produced by small teams writing for dedicated fans. Microsoft’s 1994 title Space Simulator was one of the most notable examples, incorporating an array of astrodynamic space mechanics, but the company never produced a sequel. The industry moved on.

But then in 2011 a development studio based in Mexico released an early version of Kerbal Space Program, an intricately detailed space flight sim for Windows and Mac. Here, the player’s aim is simple; design and construct spacecraft in your own personal space center.

As you succeed with flight missions, you’ll accrue more funding and expand your expertise, but the game also acts as completely free sandbox experience with myriad options for inventive design. The possibilities for construction are almost endless, and the most experienced players are able to dock craft in orbit to create space stations, land on the nearby moon, and venture into deep space. It's no wonder people are calling this Minecraft in space – it has that same sense of creativity and possibility.

The community rises, Nasa notices

And as with Minecraft, a community quickly grew around Kerbal, despite its unfinished state. Users began modifying the code and adding new features, and when it was released onto leading PC games platform Steam in spring 2013, it became one of the top five best-selling titles on the site’s “early access” section – a huge new audience joined the experiment. Felipe Falanghe, Kerbal’s creator and lead developer at Squad, has perhaps been surprised by the success of the title, but understands its appeal. “It’s about seeing your creations explode and trying to figure out why,” he says. “It’s about how you can improve the design so it doesn’t happen again” he says. “It’s about exploring and reaching out to something that was a complete unknown not too long ago.”

The success of the game hadn’t gone unnoticed. In March 2013, Squad received an intriguing tweet: “Interested in exploring an asteroid with us?” It was from Nasa, and after a year of cooperation, the Kerbal team was able to implement the real-life Asteroid Redirect Mission into its game. Players can now experiment with a genuine space programme, using Nasa rocket parts. “It’s been a truly amazing experience,” says Falanghe. “When we first started, we had very little help from experts, save what we could research on our own. For us, it was a great learning experience – none of us in the team have any formal background in aerospace or any related field.”

Public relations for space travel

For Nasa, there was another motive. The public relations boom of the moon landings and the 1980s shuttle programme has long faded, and amid a biting recession, there is apathy and misunderstanding about the organisation. The American public doesn’t just lack understanding about what Nasa undertakes, it also grossly overestimates the budget it receives from the US government. As recently as 1997, the public estimated that up to 20% of government budget was allocated to Nasa – a $328bn injection that would almost certainly have meant a successful manned Mars mission by now. In truth, Nasa has requested a budget of $17.5bn for fiscal 2015. Of that, just $89m is allocated to educating the next generation of astronauts, scientists and engineers.

“I think it’s a shame,” says Falanghe, “not just for Nasa but for mankind in general, that there isn’t as much interest in space exploration these days as there should be. Reaching for the stars should be the next step for us as a species, especially as we’re so obviously exceeding the current resources the Earth has to offer.”

But Nasa is fighting back. Using sites like Facebook, Twitter and its own Nasa TV digital channel, it is building connections with the younger generation, explaining its projects, posting videos and live streams and designing interactive applications around its satellite and Mars Rover initiatives. “As we continue to become more connected through social media, public ignorance of public and private space exploration missions has shrunk” says David Lantz, a flight controller directly inside Nasa’s mission control. “With over 4 million people watching the last launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis and 3.2 million watching the landing of Mars Curiosity rover through various digital outlets, I’d say interest and desire has never been higher."

Why astronauts play space games

Joining up with Kerbal Space Program has been part of this. As Nasa develops plans to land men on an asteroid by 2025, and with a manned mission to Mars tentatively slated for launch in the early 2020s, it’s even possible we might see games giving real-time access to content, providing a sense of what it’s like to venture onto other worlds. It’s not just about providing PR to a space industry, it’s about interesting gamers in aeronautics as a viable career. “I remember playing an old simulator called Shuttle in the early 90s and then flying a shuttle in the flight simulator, X-Plane,” says Lantz. “I recall being amazed at the quality of the games and surprised at the updated graphics. I can’t help but see newer generations being inspired to go and explore as these simulators continue to follow Moore’s law”.

Can space flight sims really inspire a new generation of jet propulsion physicists and systems engineers? Thomas Pedersen, PhD is lead space strategist at Copenhagen Suborbitals, a non-profit aerospace organisation founded almost as a hobbyist venutre by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen. Since 2008, the organisation has launched several rockets, funded partly by corporate sponsorship and partly by a group of around 1,000 supporters. There was definitely something game-like about the way the outfit started. “What is more challenging that starting out completely from scratch, two men with a simple sheet metal workshop at hand and the ambition to send a man on a suborbital trajectory into space?” asks Pedersen.

For him, games have been a key inspiration in his career, not just the worthy simulations, but the more fantastical adventures of galactic exploration. “Games have gone far beyond [real life] for decades – ever since David Braben’s classic, Elite,” he says. “Ah, those memories. Perhaps Elite is why I am where I am today”

Sean Lillibridge is at Nasa’s engineering design and analysis branch for advanced thermal systems. He remembers playing simulator games while growing up and insists they inspired him to consider space as a career. “MS Flight Simulator 4.0 had a mode where you could customize the flight model of a few different aircraft,” he says. “This gave me a playground to experiment with the game, specifically the way it perceived how different changes to the aircraft would manifest themselves. Eventually, I came to understand that the computer understood its ‘airplane’ in a very different way than how an airplane actually works, while still maintaining a basic, believable flight model. This got me interested in
how computers can simulate aerodynamics.Games influenced my career by showing the beginnings of what computers were capable of simulating.”

Dawn of the serious space games

While Kerbal is one of the most successful space simulators ever created, it’s just one of many being now being developed as educational, potentially inspirational tools. David Braben, co-creator of the space trading sim Elite, is now overseeing the development of a new titles in the series, Elite: Dangerous. He believes that this is the beginning of an important few years for games and space exploration. “Frankly the next generation of space simulation is within games.” he continues. “In Elite: Dangerous we are pulling together all the known information about our galaxy within the simulation. We don’t think that is being done anywhere else.”

Other Kickstarter games, like space simulator Space Pioneer, are using the expert knowledge cosmonauts and spaceflight experts like Aleksandr Lazutkin to piece together a wonderful picture of space exploration. Lazutkin, a veteran cosmonaut with the Russian Federal Space Agency, has spent more than 180 days in space across his extensive career, survived a fire onboard Russian space station MIR in 1997 and a mid-space collision with the craft Progress a few years later. An impressive set of experiences.

“Games have the incredible and unmatched potential to inspire and give life to future ambitions” says Lazutkin. “If a video game is made the right way it can give the player new knowledge in a way that’s unobtrusive, and that’s what we’re striving for - we think that accomplishing this and inspiring people to become space explorers is something that represents the highest echelon of game making.”

Kids in space

The team at Kerbal certainly sees the opportunity to lead in the field of space education; to revitalise the public interest in Nasa and even to create a new generation of astronauts, cosmonauts, mission control agents and thermodynamic analysts. Games are, after all, becoming the primary medium for a new generation of digital natives, used to interacting with iPads and consoles. Television coverage of the Apollo missions may have inspired kids in the 70s, but today’s children are too busy playing Minecraft. Not that it’s a bad thing – Minecraft is teaching millions of children about architecture, urban planning, even soil mechanics. Kerbal could do the same thing for space.

“We did a survey [of over] 12,000 players and more than 92 percent are not nor ever have been part of the aerospace industry,” says Falanghe. “But more than 97% of those players said Kerbal Space Program has increased their interest in science and space and over 95% of them said they learned something about astrophysics or rocket science from playing the game.”

As a community, Kerbal Space Program’s fans are as dedicated to the mission as Squad, providing feedback and actively participating in the game’s evolution, shaping it into something that even Falanghe couldn’t have anticipated. “When we did our first public release we weren’t even sure if we would keep the orbital mechanics in the game or not, as we couldn’t be sure before if players would receive it well, or think it was too complex to be fun. It was only after we released we saw players not only liked the orbits, they wanted more of it.”

It was a turning point for Kerbal, which Falanghe says was not originally intended as an authoritative simulation of space flight, complete with orbiting space stations. After feedback, the design emphasis changed entirely, and a new ethos emerged around progressive learning. With Nasa’s involvement, Squad has now teamed up with educational specialist TeacherGaming to produce KerbalEdu, a version of the game intended for classrooms, allowing teachers to create set tasks for pupils. The project is in its early stages right now, but TeacherGaming has had huge success with MinecraftEdu, bringing the game to schools around the world.

From space sim to space career

A career trajectory from interested gamer to space industry expert is one that Falanghe and his team consider plausible. As Squad perfects the balance of education and game, and nurtures its relationship with space organisations around the globe, the team edges closer to that goal.

It's clearly what Falanghe dreams of: “If we hear of a new generation of astronauts and engineers, and a renewed interest in space exploration, and if even one of them was inspired to pursue that career as a result of our little game. Well… that’s about as much as a game designer can hope to achieve, I think.”

• David Braben on Elite, Kickstarter and Raspberry Pi

• The player: In praise of educational games

• How do you build a city in space?

Kerbal Space Program

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Without mods, Kerbal Space Program is already an amazing accomplishment—a deep, rewarding sim that captures the majesty and challenge of going to space. In 2015 we gave it our highest recommendation, and since then it's appeared in both our staff’s and our readers’ top 100 lists. Kerbal Space Program sticks around because it is everything that makes PC gaming great: freedom, creativity, flexibility, and mods. Naturally, mods make it better. The best mods for Kerbal Space Program add new ships, new parts, and small touches to keep Kerbal fun and fresh after a hundred hours of rocket science.

Whether you’re looking for a flyable Enterprise or Serenity, a recreation of NASA’s Apollo rockets or the International Space Station, the KSP community has been getting it done for ages now. Out of all of the fine work available, these are our favorite mods for Kerbal Space Program.

Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network (CKAN) 

Get it:Kerbal Space Program forums

Don’t forget: Add Module Manager, a mod that helps other mods play well together.

The first mod on the list isn’t really a mod, it’s a program. CKAN is an open-source, community-supported mod manager. Though KSP’s mod community has moved around a lot: for a while it was officially based out of, most of the biggest mods still live on the game’s official forums, and still others live on SpaceDock. With so many mod sources out there, CKAN aggregates modders’ submitted files and cross-references them, making sure that every mod is up to date, installing/uninstalling instantly, and warning you if mods are incompatible with each other. If a modder has recommended other mods to go along with theirs, CKAN asks if you’d like to install them at the same time. It’s a gorgeous piece of work, and it’s more essential the more mods you add.

To add a mod using CKAN, just start typing the name. There may be a few mods only hosted on Curse or SpaceDock, but almost all of them are included in CKAN.

Immersion mods

Some of my favorite mods are the most useless. Check out these mods if you want a more beautiful, immersive game. 


Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Quindar tone volume can be adjusted if they’re too beepy. 

In space, no one can hear you scream unless you hold down the push-to-talk button. Chatterer took real-life audio from the Apollo 11 missions, scrambled it up a bit, and chopped it into audio files that play in the background of your missions. Combined with some well-placed Quindar tones, this mod gives the impression of a bustling, chaotic mission control center buzzing with messages and cross-talk. Floating weightless in the black of space feels more real with mission control talking in your ear. 

Hullcam VDS

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Pressing [-] cycles through all available cameras.

The Apollo missions happened before we discovered the joy of strapping a GoPro to everything, but Kerbals are much more advanced. The Hullcam VDS mod adds a variety of attachable cameras so you can watch your missions from the side of a rocket or from inside an engine housing. Launching with a down-facing hull camera lends flights a certain SpaceX kind of feel. The mod also adds a Hubble-style space telescope you can use to creep on distant planets.

Collision FX

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Sparks kick up a soft, soothing light for nighttime crashes.

Making crashes and screw-ups look nicer might be the most “Kerbal” thing imaginable. Collision FX adds sparks, smoke, screeching tires, ploughing dirt, and plumes of snow—depending on the ground you’re crashing into. They’ve been working on it for years, and that’s why the newest version throws up soil that matches the regolith you’re slamming into. That’s quality!

Collision FX also adds an adorable little “oof” noise for when Kerbals fly into something solid during EVAs. 


Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: RealPlume is packaged to include SmokeScreen, a mod that lets you tweak and customize engine effects.

For all the many times that my Kerbals have died in a big ball of smoke and flame, I’ve always thought to myself: that smoke could be smokier. RealPlume completely reworks the exhaust and plume effects for KSP’s rocket engines (and quite a lot of the mod pack engines, too!). You spend a lot of time in KSP watching engines burn, after all, so why not make it look great?


Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Orbiting a planet with a colorful atmosphere reflects that color onto your ship. 

OK, this one is really useless. Even for this list. Still, I love PlanetShine because it exemplifies the obsessive attention to detail great modding communities thrive on. Here’s what it does: when a ship is in low orbit around a planet, the backside of the ship will be softly illuminated by the planet’s reflected atmospheric light. The mod plays well with Environmental Visual Enhancements, which adds nighttime city lights and cloud effects.

Kronal Vessel Viewer

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Distance between pieces in the exploded view can be adjusted, from huge gap to tiny sliver.

I love blueprints. I’m not an engineer or an architect, but I have a fascination with blueprints and technical drawings. Kronal Vessel Viewer adds a view window in the VAB for you to tinker with two-dimensional sketches of your huge Kerbal ships. Using the exploded view, it’s possible to get a schematic-style look at your most historically important missions. Just imagine: this view of your ship, the Get To The Mun Please Damn It All, will be in every young Kerbal’s history books in school.

New challenge mods

Kerbal Space Program is a hard, hard game because physics is impossible and the universe wants to squish your frail, pathetic spirit. If it’s not hard enough, though—if you want new ways to fail spectacularly—then these mods bring new punishments for the most advanced Kerbonauts.


Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Pack plenty of solar panels; SCANsat readouts are not low-wattage.

Previous satellite mods focused on scanning and locating resources for pre-1.0 KSP. Now that resources and refineries are part of the vanilla game, SCANsat is the best precisely because it focuses on what satellites do best: exploration. With high-definition scans from a SCANsat satellite, players can target flat areas for safe landings, identify points of interest, and get a full understanding of a planet’s biomes worthy of research. Even the smallest bodies in the Kerbol system are enormous, so this mod is a great way of approaching that challenge.

Orbit Portal Technology Space Plane Parts

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget:Kerbal Aircraft Expansion is another excellent parts pack devoted to aircraft, but its best parts focus on exploring Kerbin itself.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a single-stage-to-orbit space plane that flies smooth and lifts heavy. Once you get your arms around the peculiar physics of KSP’s space planes, you’ll have a cheap, reusable shuttle system to bring supplies, Kerbals, and even space station modules to orbit. OPT’s excellent space plane parts pack dramatically expands the tools you have to get to orbit.

Dang It!

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Pairs so well with Entropy, a mod that causes wear and tear damage to all ships, that the two mods fell in love and decided to merge. Entropy is now an official part of Dang It!

This ingenious and mildly bowdlerized mod breaks stuff. Solar panels short out, engines misfire, fuel tanks start leaking, batteries fail. You can adjust how frequent and how catastrophic the failures, but the end result is that with Dang It!, even perfectly designed missions sometimes have hiccups. Luckily, your expertly trained Kerbals can perform an EVA and fix the problem, as long as you brought along a few spare parts.

For some players, this sounds like a hellish nightmare. I admit, though, that I find surviving a Kerbal version of Apollo 13 to be more than a little compelling. The alarm klaxon that sounds when a malfunction occurs will haunt my dreams for months.

Kerbal Construction Time

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: You can “simulate” a ship to see how it flies without waiting for the actual construction time. Simulate a few times, then when you’re happy with it, build it for real.

One of the quirks of KSP is that it keeps track of time. Every second of spaceflight is added to the overall game clock, which tells the game where every planet and ship is in space. Time is paused while you tinker with design of a new ship, and only begins when you click “launch,” meaning every ship is built instantly. Kerbal Construction Time changes that. The more complex the ship, the longer it takes to build. Why bother? Realism is a part of it. It also forces you to plan ahead, designing and sending new ships into the construction pipeline weeks or months before you’re ready to launch. If you’re building a space station in orbit, for example, you either need the cash to build multiple ships at once or you need to plan for the first module to orbit for a few months before the second module can join it.

DMagic Orbital Science: Probe and Rover Pack

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: DMagic recommends several great mods to go with this one, the best of which is [x] Science, a mod that gives you a master checklist of the experiments you have and haven’t finished yet.

Depending on what contracts you take, you might be sending routine flights up and down around the same parts of space for a while. After you’ve gotten temperature (cold) and atmosphere (none) data back to KSP central, there’s not a lot more science to be done. This mod adds a ton of new experiments for your vehicles, including a soil moisture sensor and an x-ray diffraction analyzer. Get back to work!


Get it:Forums, CKAN

Don’t forget: A calculator in the VAB tells you how long your Kerbals will live with the provided supplies.

Sad, but true: NASA isn’t really in the inspiration business anymore. These days, all the exciting space stuff is happening at SpaceY, the privately held Kerbal space agency that bears no resemblance to privately managed space agencies here on Earth. All of your favorite SpaceY heavy lifter parts are ready to download and head to space.

Umbra Space Industries

Get it:GitHub

Don’t forget: Umbra’s most famous mod packs are Kolonization Systems and Life Support, a 1-2 punch combo that will definitely have you leaving hundreds of Kerbals to starve to death beneath the ruins of their failed colonies.

Unlike most one-off mods, the rocket scientists behind Umbra Space Industries have established a cottage industry of mod packs. They’ve got cranes and magnets in Konstruction!, submarines for charting alien oceanography in the USI Exploration Pack, and high-speed engines in Alcubierre Warp Drive.

Almost all of USI’s projects packs are modular, so you can take a few science gizmos here and a couple of engine couplings there as you like.

Near Future Technologies

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Near Future’s mods are basically just parts packs, so you still unlock them through the usual R&D programs. Keep farming those science points!

It’s easy to get carried away by the siren-song of sci-fi splendor: god damnit, I want warp drive and phasers and I want them now. The Near Future series of parts packs takes a more patient approach by bringing near-future sci-fi to KSP. There’s no teleportation, but there are highly refined nuclear reactors and advanced xenon engines. These mods won’t get you to Star Wars, but they will get you to The Martian.

Automation mods

KSP asks you to be a lot of things at once: administrator, engineer, pilot, scientist, micromanager. These mods automate some of these tasks, freeing you up to focus on other things.

Kerbal Attachment System

Get it: Forums

Don’t forget: You can use KAS to move modules outside of the VAB, so your Kerbals can make an EVA and rearrange drilling platforms or solar panels that aren’t pointed the right way.

I once built an entire Mun base using modular pieces designed to fit a mini-rover with a docking port. The mini-rover could drive under the modules, lift them off their struts, and drive them over to their final destination. It was a horrific pain in the ass.

Instead, use Kerbal Attachment System’s network of wires, winches, pulleys, and fuel lines to connect parts of your base without actually rearranging them. Drag a wire from a solar panel array over to your habitat to produce power, or pull a fuel line from your storage tanks to your rover to refuel.

Contracts Window +

Get it:Curse, CKAN

Don’t forget: Contracts+ is compatible with the popular Contract Reward Modifier mod. 

The user interface in vanilla KSP is pretty good, but Contracts+ offers a ton of new functionality. You can sort your accepted contracts by name, due date, financial payout, and other options. Even better, you can program custom missions and track contracts that way. If you’ve got five contracts and want to fulfill three of them on a single mission, a custom mission will let you just watch those three. It’s miles ahead of vanilla KSP’s tiny scrolling taskbar window.


Get it:Curse

Don’t forget: If you really do think that MechJeb is cheating, try Kerbal Engineer. It gives you a ton of extra flight data so you can see all the information you need to fly perfect missions by hand.

By far the most famous and most popular KSP mod in existence is the mechanical Jebediah, or MechJeb. Allowing a computer autopilot to take over your piloting tasks is ideal for anyone with a solid flight plan and great engineering skills, but without the rock-steady hands it takes to carefully touch 80 tons of steel onto alien soil. MechJeb can do it all, from extra-planetary insertion burns to docking maneuvers.

Some purists insist that using MechJeb is “cheap” or “cheating.” To them, I say nonsense. MechJeb doesn’t let an underpowered rocket reach orbit, and it won’t give you infinite fuel. If designing missions sounds like more fun than flying them to you, there’s no shame whatsoever in handing the controls to an expert.... but since we couldn’t find an expert anywhere around here, we’re handing them to Jeb. Good luck.

Kerbal Alarm Clock

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: You can set an alarm for ideal interplanetary launch windows, letting you fast-forward until it’s the right time of year for a trip to Duna.

Throughout most of KSP’s development, you had to simply fast-forward time and hope you didn’t rocket past your burn window. In those dark days, Kerbal Alarm Clock was born. Even though KSP has made it easier to hit your windows, the alarm clock is still essential. Set alarms for certain parts of your orbit, for other crafts passing nearby, for crossing orbits, and others. You can even tie into a strange alternate universe, a planet called “Earth,” and set alarms based on the local time. 

Docking Port Alignment

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: The target window is also viewable from the cockpit view, which means you can get the immersive experience of docking from the pilot’s chair. Stressful! Horrifying!

The navball in vanilla KSP is much-maligned, but I don’t think it deserves the flak it gets. It’s perfect for most purposes. Its biggest failure, to my mind, is docking guidance. Trying to line up a three-dimensional maneuver with a one-dimensional target? That’s silly business. Docking Port Alignment adds a pop-up window with four crosshairs. Point at the target, rotate into alignment, face perpendicular to the target, and get moving gently toward it, all with the same window.

It won’t dock for you like MechJeb, but it gives you all the information you need to nail it. I went from docking in a couple of minutes to under thirty seconds when I started using this mod.

For Science!

Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: If you have a scientist on board, one-use experiments will also automatically reset.

Of all the mods on this list, this one feels the most like cheating. For Science! is designed to remove the science grind by automating it. Simply taking a thermometer into the ocean will automatically record that reading and store it in the command module. Arming a plane with a few experiments and flying it across Kerbin will bring in a steady stream of new science points. No more guessing if you’re over a certain biome or trying to fly and press go on an experiment at the same time.

Multiplayer mods

For some, KSP’s greatest asset is its loneliness. For others, the only thing better than docking is docking with a friend. Vanilla KSP was supposed to one day support multiplayer, but it now seems pretty unlikely that will ever happen. The idea took off with the community, though, and there are a few solid options available.


Get it:Forums

Don’t forget: Telemachus works (mostly), but it’s as ugly as the dark side of a Kerbal. Install Houston, a UI upgrade that plugs into Telemachus to make it a little prettier.

Telemachus is complicated and I am but a simple moron, but the basic gist is this: Telemachus pulls flight data out of KSP and puts it into a web browser. Using magic, presumably.

Why is that cool? Well, you can use it for a bunch of things. You can gather up tablets and old laptops and assemble yourself a mission control. You can send that browser link to a friend and share real-time data as you fly. Or, and here’s where it gets really fun, you can assemble a team to play as your mission control. One player plays as the pilot in cockpit view, and mission control works to tell her when to burn, how long, and where. Add some beer and a few explosions, and you’ve got yourself a party.

Dark Multiplayer

Get it:Dark Multiplayer site

Don’t forget: Your firewall may have some issues with sharing network access. Consult the DMP FAQ to figure out which ports to open.

Dark isn’t the original multiplayer mod, the one that got the entire Kerbosphere a-twitter when it first launched, but it is the best we have right now. By combining a lot of server options with more-stable-than-not netcode, Dark Multiplayer allows you to hook up with a friend, rendezvous in orbit, and start constructing that orbital science station.

The big hurdle for multiplayer is time warping: if I fast-forward two hours to catch up to my friend and she stays put, we’re now in two separate time lines with two versions of Kerbin at different points in orbit. Without getting into Doctor Who levels of timey wimey-ness, Dark Multiplayer allows for a single master to control time warping. This keeps everyone on the same timeline, preventing fourth-dimensional weirdness and Dalek attacks.

A mod rocket called Recover Craft Minmus(2x). Built with 95 of the finest parts, part is probeStackSmall. Built in the VAB in KSP version

The best Kerbal Space Program mods

The countdown is over and Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition has arrived on Xbox One! This new version of Kerbal Space Program was built from the ground up with the help of the talented and experienced team at BlitWorks and includes a bunch of enhancements to the overall KSP experience on Xbox One. We have boosted performance, improved UI, and added three completely reworked controller presets designed specifically for consoles and optimized to be played on your Xbox One controller. We’ve also added features and content previously unavailable for KSP players on Xbox One.

Rocket science seems overwhelming and difficult, but with Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition our goal is to prove that it can be accessible and fun, all while simulating some of the complexities of building and launching a spacecraft with realistic physics and orbital mechanics – all of which can be experienced from the comfort of your couch on your Xbox One!

We want to help you out with a few simple yet useful tips to ensure the success of your space program, and to make sure you’re equipped to build a space-worthy craft capable of flying its crew out into space (while keeping them unharmed, of course). So here are nine things to keep in mind as you get started in KSP on Xbox One!

  1. Tutorials are your friend! Here you’ll learn the basic tools you have at your disposal for craft-building, as well as detailed instructions for flying, and even a guideline to perform a successful visit to the Mun. Although some of the tutorials target more advanced players, the first ones should help you get off the ground.
  2. Learn the ropes in Career Mode. Most players go straight into Sandbox Mode when they start playing KSP (I know I did), but playing Career Mode is actually the best way to learn the game. The progressive nature of this mode will familiarize you with the extensive amount of parts available as well as the different aspects of the game.
  3. KSPedia holds the knowledge! Open KSPedia early and scan through it to get familiar with the contents. There really is a whole lot of very helpful stuff in there.
  4. Learn the basics. Take some time to learn the building tools and camera controls as these are a crucial part to imaginative, successful, and gratifying craft building.
  5. It’s rocket science after all, so be patient! KSP can be a difficult game, and you will fail sometimes. Do not get discouraged by this, since this will also make your successes way more gratifying. Failure is part of the experience and it is the best way to improve and learn. Oh, and don’t feel too bad if something terrible happens to one of your Kerbals. They always come back with a big smile.
  6. Don’t be afraid to look for help. Almost everyone needs additional help and will have specific questions. We have a great online forum where answers are abundant, and there are many tutorials out in the web that will most certainly be of great help whenever you get stuck or need some tips.

  1. Make sure your spacecraft are aerodynamic and stable. Any longtime player will admit to spending many hours trying to make rockets fly straight and not flip ends. A tip for you in almost any situation: stability comes from having a lot of drag at the back end of a craft, and very little drag at the front end. Additionally, having the center of lift behind the center of mass in your space-planes is a reliable rule of thumb for stability in this sort of crafts. Keep that in mind, and you will go far.
  2. Learn the jargon. There’s a lot technical vocabulary within the game, and you will get familiarized with it, but sometimes making the effort to pick up the meanings can help you understand any advice you get.
  3. Be creative and above all, have fun! Build whatever you want, and however you want it. The building tools at your disposal will allow you to create anything from rockets, space stations, rovers, or pretty much anything else you can imagine.

And if any veteran Xbox One KSP players are reading this, you’ll be happy to know that Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition is free for anyone who owns the previous version of the game on Xbox One. So whether you’re looking to send your first Kerbal into orbit or you’ve already landed on Duna, put on your helmets and get ready to explore the vastness of space on Xbox One!

how to recover craft ksp

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: KSP #30 - Building a craft to recover lost parts from Minmus surface

Hi I have sent some ships in orbit but I seem to never have enough fuel to recover my astonauts. Is there a way to recover them? I am in career.

how to recover craft ksp
Written by Dubei
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