Fun with Kerbal Space Program: To the Mun!

Written by Shuhao on 2013-07-27 21:57

T minus ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, launch! With that, 5 rocket engines ignited and lifted off the launchpad along with a brave, but definitely stupid Kerbalnaut, for the Mun.


Last weekend, I picked up Kerbal Space Program from the Steam summer sale and I have been messing around with it since. Kerbal Space Program is a pretty realistic space flight simulator game where players get to develop their own space program. In the game, you can design and build rockets, spaceplanes, spacecrafts, space stations, and so forth. The game features a solar system somewhat resembling of our own, except with 1/10th the size but approximately the same amount of surface gravity.

The game is fairly difficult to get into. It took me a good solid two hours to just understand how everything worked. It is unfortunate as I have not yet taken my courses in aerospace for me to know what terms such as prograde and retrograde mean. However, after the built in tutorial and some YouTube videos, I was able to build some simple rockets that allowed me to venture out to space.

One thing that I would say is while the game is pretty realistic, there are a couple of things that I wish it'd do better. The way the game models drag is currently not very realistic for a lot of scenarios. Furthermore, the game only uses two body physics and therefore does not have things like Lagrangian points, which is a disappointment, but acceptable due to computational limitations.

Anyhow, the better part of last week has been dedicated to building myself a rocket that will allow me to get to the Mun (Kerbin's primary moon, resembling of our Moon) and back. I was finally able to accomplish this afternoon and here's a photo journal of the adventure.

Note: I didn't actually screenshot the first half of my first attempt. So I did a second run with the first half. That's why you see Bill Kerman getting launched but landing was done by Jebediah.

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