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December 2, 2012: KERBAL Space Program.
A Computer Game that Teaches.

PARENT COMMENT: This is a game I actually encourage Jonathan to play. Hard to believe.

Written by Jonathan Ciavolino

Kerbal Space Program, made by Squad, is a very realistic space flight simulator. In KSP you can build almost any rocket design with the parts given, and with add-ons the stuff you can do is endless. You can build space planes, launched horizontally, or Rockets, Launched vertically. Right now there is only a Sandbox mode to the game, but soon there will be career mode where you have money and other resources. When you first get the game there is many things to do like going for a landing on other planets or flying to the Mun (moon), but the best way to start is to try and achieve a basic orbit over Kerbin. The main planet, Kerbin, is about half the size of earth, so it is quiet easy to get in to space even with a small rocket If the basic game somehow gets boring, you can install part packs that give you better and larger parts to use in game. Not only is Kerbal Space Program super fun it is very educating about space flight.

In the VAB, the building where you build rockets launched vertically, you can pick from five command modules that carry your crew members. There are four sets of parts in the game right now: Propulsion, Command and Control, body parts, and utility and scientific parts. Right now there are 73 parts in the game, but more are added every time a new update comes out. They also just announced that in the next update they are adding many new parts, electrical systems, and docking in orbit. There is also the SPH (space plane hangar) you can build horizontally launched space planes on a runway. The parts are the same from the VAB but the way you build the planes in different. The space plane part of the game is unfinished but it is getting better.

There are now five planets in the Kerbal system: Jool, a large gas planet, Duna, very similar to mars, Kerbin, the earth like planet and the home of the Kerbals, Eve a planet with very thick atmosphere, and Moho, pretty much the same as mercury. There will also be other solar systems added in the future. They are also adding two more planets, one extremely close to the sun, and another one quiet far out in the solar system.

Even though the game leans heavily on real physics you donít need to know much about real physics to begin flying. One thing you need to remember is thrust-to-weight ratio, which is donít put 1000s of gallons of fuel on the rocket and only have one engine, the key is balance. If you understand that you will be able to successfully travel the universe in the game. Another thing to remember is that once you get in to space since there isnít gravity you can have a ton of fuel and a small amount of thrust to move with speed in space. But if you are still in the atmosphere you always want more thrust then fuel, because if you have too much fuel you canít go anywhere.

Key Links



General View of the Vehicle Assembly building


View of a rocket on the launch pad


Small unmanned rover preparing to enter the atmosphere of Duna the Mars like planet


View of the rocket going through the low levels of the atmosphere


Small one man lander on the surface of the Mun (moon)


Second stage of a rocket entering the orbital ejection stage


View of the orbital view where you can see your ships projected path


Large 3 man lander on the surface of the Mun (moon)


A view of the Mun, Kerbin, and a simple ship


A large 3 man lander entering the decent stage of the mission


Lander that is about to land on the surface of the Mun


A Capsule on final decent with parachute open and the Kerbal space center in the backround.


Capsule on final decent with the parachute open and all of Kerbal space center in view

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