I’ve been playing Kerbal Space Program for the better part of a year. I have learned a lot about space travel and space craft design and also just how much I really enjoy the field as a hobby.
My rocket designs have grown in complexity and capability. I’ve gone from rejoicing in simply getting a craft into a stable orbit without a rapid unplanned disassembly to routinely launching spacecraft to other celestial bodies for the purposes of pioneering those bodies for further exploration.
My space craft have gone from large, bulky, inefficiently and poorly designed hunks of taxpayers’ dollars to extremely efficient and lightweight spacecraft that exceed their mission parameters in performance and capability. My first few attempts at landing on the Mun with unmanned probes all ended poorly – either not enough or unbalanced retro-rockets for the powered landing or the craft had electrical problems and was a dead hunk of metal that would impact the Mun because it had no power to change its course or it would slip off into space because it also had no course.
I’ve always preferred unmanned. While it is just a video game, I like to challenge myself – I’ll never leave a Kerbal to die in space and I’ll never leave a Kerbal in space with no plans of retrieving him. I treat them like NASA would treat their astronauts – as the most precious cargo ever. I pride myself in not having lost a single Kerbal during my last two months of gameplay – when I started really taking the game seriously and not just as a game where I can see how big of a rocket I could slam into the surface of the Mun at the highest possible velocity – fun but it gets old fast.
I’ve been reading and learning about gravitational physics, orbit mechanics and space craft maneuvering techniques. I’ve done my best to limit the amount of space debris that I leave up in space, although avoiding it altogether is extremely challenging. I’ve been looking at other KSPer’s designs and the designs of those who have actually done it – NASA, RFSA, Space-X, to name a few. I’ve learned from others designs, successes and failures as well as that of my own.
I’ve been challenging myself beyond the All Kerbals Come Home and Say No to Space Junk rules. I’ve also been using the RemoteTech add-on which requires me to maintain radio link with my unmanned probes in order to control them. They either have to maintain radio contact with mission control or a manned space craft. It is much more challenging than one might think! I’ve become frustrated a few times when a probe went behind the Mun and lost communication and drifted off into space because a burn wasn’t completed!
I’ve also installed the Kethane add-on, which is very challenging although I haven’t done much with it besides survey the Mun. I had built an orbital fuel depot that was going to orbit the Mun but it appears that an update of KSP made the craft vanish – luckily there were no Kerbals onboard! I still have my designs so it shouldn’t take much to rebuild it.
What are a few exciting things you have done while playing Kerbal Space Program?