Kerbal Space Program is an intriguing space exploration game in which you can create and manage a space program. Building and launching bigger and better rockets to reach the planets and moons of the Kerbal star system in this game’s Career Mode is challenging and fun. Kerbal Space Program has a bit of a learning curve, which can make it quite daunting for new players. Here are some Kerbal Space Program beginner tips to help you get into orbit in the game’s Career Mode.
Go Through (Some) Training Tutorials Before Starting Career Mode
Kerbal Space Program includes numerous training tutorials that explain how to play the game. It’s recommended for all new players to go through at least some of those tutorials before jumping into Career Mode. However, that doesn’t mean you need to go through all the tutorials from the outset.
As there’s an awful lot to take in across all the tutorials, it’s best to go through just the first six training tutorials to start with, from basic construction up to going to orbit. Those tutorials cover the basics of building, launching, and flying rockets and completing an orbital flight. Getting a rocket into orbit must be the primary Career Mode objective for all new players. When you’ve done that, you’re no longer a beginner and can look at the other tutorials for more advanced topics.
Stick Lots of Science Bits to the Top of Your Rockets
Scientific research is crucial to expanding your fledging space program in Career Mode. Amassing more scientific data will enable you to unlock new technologies for your rockets on the tech tree faster. Sticking lots of science instruments to the top of your rockets will enable you to collect more science points on your missions. So, make sure you add multiple Goo Containment Units (preferably four or more), a thermometer, and a barometer to your rockets so you can collect more science points on your space missions.
Complete Lots of Simple Survey Contracts
You’ll need to complete many contracts in Career Mode to amass funds and science. Survey contracts require you to conduct experiments at certain locations, often above or below certain altitudes. Completing survey contracts is a good way to amass more scientific data since you’ll receive science points for all locations you conduct experiments. They also give you good practice for flight maneuvering.
Don’t pick any more advanced contracts to start with. Stick to simple one-star contracts to ease yourself into the game. You don’t even need to launch rockets to complete some of the most basic contracts.
Upgrade the Tracking Station
It’s very important to have an AP Apoapsis marker on your trajectory curve to get your rockets into orbit. The game’s tutorial explains what that marker is but doesn’t tell you how to activate the AP maker on your map in Career Mode. If you’re wondering how to get the AP marker on your map in Career mode, upgrade the Tracking Station to level two by right-clicking it and selecting the Upgrade option. Then you’ll see the AP marker on your map’s trajectory curve.
Keep an Eye on the Apoapsis (AP) Mark
When you can see the AP marker on the map, make sure you keep your eye on it when attempting to enter orbit. The AP marker highlights the apoapsis, the furthest point away from an orbited body. That mark also represents the highest altitude point you’re set to reach before you’ve entered orbit. When you cross that mark before reaching orbit, your rocket will descend to Kerbin’s surface on the trajectory outlined.
You must establish a circular orbital flight path around a planet to enter orbit. That means your rocket can’t cross over the AP marker before you’ve reached orbit, which makes it crucial to view that marker’s position on your map. To reach orbit, shoot your rocket to about 80,000 meters altitude at an easterly direction and fly to about a minute of reaching the AP marker. Then bring up the map and steadily increase and lower your throttle to keep the AP marker just ahead of your rocket until an orbital circle around the planet has been established, as in the screenshot below.
Upgrade Mission Control to Level Two
When you’ve got a rocket into orbit, you’ll probably start thinking about going to the Mun (Kerbin’s moon). To do so, you’re going to need to start using maneuver nodes in space, as covered within the game’s Mun tutorials. However, those tutorials don’t mention that you need to upgrade the Mission Control station one level in Career Mode to utilize maneuver nodes. Thus, an upgraded Mission Control station is an essential thing to invest in for your space program.
Activate Cheats With Kerbal Space Program’s Debug Console
Kerbal Space Program has a debug console that’s simple to activate and provides an easy way to cheat in Career Mode. To activate it, press the Alt + F12 hotkey when playing. Select the Cheats section to access the options for cheating there.
This cheat console will enable you to amass funds or science at the click of a button. If you need a bit or a lot more science to unlock a technology, click the +10 or +100 buttons for science. Click +1,000 or +100000 to boost your space program’s bank balance. Such cheats will reduce the number of contracts you need to complete for the sake of scientific data and funding.
Or you can unlock all the technologies in one go by clicking the max Technology option. Activating that cheat will effectively turn Career Mode into Sandbox since you’ll have access to all tech in the game without the need to amass any science points. However, you might as well play Kerbal Space Program in Sandbox Mode if that’s what you prefer.
Watch Kerbal Space Program Video Tutorials
Many Kerbal Space Program tutorial videos on YouTube provide invaluable guidance for how to play the game. If you’re not sure how to do something in KSP, watch a tutorial video that shows you how to do it. This Kerbal Space Program playlist includes 21 training videos covering how-to-play Career Mode, landing on moons, spaceplane flight, rocket design, traveling to planets, reaching orbit, and more besides.
Stick to those Kerbal Space Program beginner tips to get your space program off the ground in Career Mode. Kerbal Space Program Wiki tutorials are also worth noting for new players. When you’ve got a rocket into space, you can boldly go where no Kerbal has been before in KSP!