Armageddon It: NASA Kerbal Mission Blasts Off

By Alice O'Connor on April 2nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

You know you can't stop it, so don't rock it

In its ongoing mission to tag the solar system with flags like a bunch of billion-dollar badboys, NASA plans to rocket off to an asteroid then drag it back over to Earth so we can have a good poke around. It’ll be years before that happens though, so for now we’ll have to settle for recreating the mission in the world’s most realistic space simulator. In collaboration with NASA, Kerbal Space Program has launched an update with missions to capture asteroids and oodles of new spaceship bits to help achieve that.

Asteroids now buzz merrily around Kerbin, presenting both valuable research opportunities and new ways for your launches to go wrong. In two new Asteroid Redirect Mission scenarios, Jeb and friends will need to make contact with space-rocks, latching on to study and shove them about.

The update does have a fair grounding in reality, adding parts including super-sized engines and fuel tanks inspired by NASA’s planned Space Launch System rocket, the escape tower from Apollo rockets, and the Space Shuttle’s solid boosters. Then it also adds a giant claw to grab and maul anything you jolly well please, from orbiting asteroids to innocent Kerbals, which may not be something we see in the real world until space travel becomes cheap enough for space-demolition derby.

Hit the patch notes for the skinny on everything new, including an overhaul of part joints so your ships are less likely to split in dreadful ways.

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28 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    KSP sits at the exact intersection between comedy and uncompromising brutal scientific rigour. I couldn’t do this to, say, simulated dogs or monkeys, but over-enthusiastic green bobbleheads are fair game for being strapped into balsa wood cockpits and placed on top of eighty metres of reconditioned maple syrup canisters filled with rocket fuel.

    Do check out Scott Manley’s Interstellar Quest series of YouTube videos, in which he attempts to build an entire space program using mods and the embryonic Career mode.

    • Azhrarn says:

      Also check out Kurtjmac’s somewhat more irregular Kerbal Space Program videos, perhaps a little more carefree than Scott’s videos, he loves his astronomy and designs quite elaborate builds, with interesting missions.
      His recent live-stream (videos of that are on his channel) also involved some the most ridiculously accurate unintentional return flying I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I just wanted to say yesterday in a drunken stupor I found who your avatar represents and your coolness ratio increased levels of magnitude, Mr. Sminghleigh. Never change.

    • P.Funk says:

      Agreed on Scott Manley. Interstellar quest pushed me to go back and explore the mad world of KSP modding. Interstellar Quest was also the first time I ever power watched anything on youtube. Good lord he has 53 episodes and climbing. I’ll be sad when its all over.

  2. Ovno says:

    God I love this game….

    Do we get nukes to try and knock things off course with yet?

  3. Awesumo says:

    I am sorry to report the successful accidental loss of our latest North Kerbalean nuclear fuelled space vessel that crashed into South Kerbalea earlier this morning.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    * “Object Discovery and Tracking” sounds a little too micromanage-y for my tastes.
    * The AGU sounds neat; there have been mods that do that, and it could be done stock with landing legs, but a stock part which does it with the knowledge of the physics system (and thus presumably time-warp friendly) is cool.
    * LESes were modded in way back in the 0.8ish days as well, and Scott Manley built one with Sepratrons. But, again, cool to have them as stock.
    * Engines bigger than the Mainsail? HERESY! Wonderful, explosive heresy!
    * Aw, rockets are less wobbly? (We’ll just have to build them BIGGER.)
    * “Maneuver Nodes are now persistent”—woo, working around this was one of Kerbal Alarm Clock’s biggest selling points. (The other being the feature it’s named after.)
    * “Switching between Linear and Rotation controls in Docking UI mode no longer toggles SAS.” Interesting; that one made sense, since while moving linearly you probably want SAS to damp rotation, but while rotating you don’t want it fighting you.
    * Ions are less of a “OK, now dig out your DS/tablet/laptop and play some other game while this one runs at 4x speed for an hour to make this tiny adjustment maneuver”? Cool.

    Sounds like a good set of updates. I may just be smashing little green blokes into rocks this weekend.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      “* “Object Discovery and Tracking” sounds a little too micromanage-y for my tastes”

      No need to worry, it’s perfectly fine! It seems the main reason for the feature is to keep things simple.
      Only the trajectories of the asteroids you wish to track are shown, the alternative would be to have every single asteroid slowly fill the map screen with tons of intersecting lines. The process itself is two mouse clicks (one on an unidentified flying rock and then one more on the track button) and that’s all you need to do.

  5. derbefrier says:

    I just re-installed this yesterday after taking a long break from it and its come along quite nicely. I was having fun in the career mode. I also seem to have forgotten everything i learned from the previous time i played it, which really wasnt that much(i was able to get a ship to orbit the Mun but thats as far as i got). Poor Jeb out there floating in space watching as his ship falls back to Kerbin. Silly Kerbin thought it was a good idea to leave his ship while touching the edge of space. Today we will achieve orbit(maybe)!

  6. slpk says:

    I love KSP and all that but I don’t think you can call it the most realistic space simulator. Most beloved? Certainly.

  7. jonfitt says:

    I haven’t played since before the career mode (v0.21 I think), and I’m looking forward to getting back in.
    The thing I really wanted was a way to save out modules for re-use that weren’t complete ships. I’d like to design a booster section, and a lander section separately, then load them in and connect up.
    Is that possible now, or is there a mod that does this?

    • Nemrod says:

      they added that as well, there is a parts save/load in the builder ;)

      • LionsPhil says:

        IMPORTANT CAVEAT: At least in 0.22/0.23, you can only do this for a subsection of the tree; you can’t save from the root node (the very first part you place).

        So if you make a totally sweet rover in the SPH, you can’t then just bolt it on in the VAB. You will need to grab some part of it, then attach that to something in the VAB. Don’t make your first part some essential structural core everything else spiders out from if you want to save it as a subassembly. Also remember that it’s the part you click to separate as a subassembly which will define how that subassembly attaches back to something, so consider if you want it radially attaching or not.

        It works great for simply re-using heavy lift stages that just sit underneath payloads, though.

        • jonfitt says:

          Ok, so if I understand you right, you’d build from a dummy pod with dummy structural parts that allow the subsystem to attach in the required formation, then save everything below that? That sounds easy enough.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yeah.

            And if you’re just building a Mun rocket, you can do that the same old way, then pick a point of your choice (probably a decoupler) to save everything below that for next time. Then you can design a different lander/probe/upper stage, try hopping it around KSC, then bolt your saved lifter stages on the bottom to get it into space. Subassemblies work great for that, no messing around with dummy parts required.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Yes.
            For anything where you plan on using it later as a sub/separate craft, it’s best to put a dummy/main/spare command pod down, then build the real thing off it.

            But for second stages or anything else on the craft, you can swap them in/out easy. It’s only the first stage that stays so (they may change this later, but it’s a pain to program so they will probably leave it to last :P ).

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            Should it be of interest to anyone there is a small mod that permits you to change the root part of an existing craft as you see fit available here: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/43208-0-22-Oct17-SelectRoot-Set-a-new-root-part-0-22-fixes?highlight=select+root

            Note that while the version on the front page may still be functional, it’s best to go to the last few posts of the thread and download the recompiled .dll instead. The original hasn’t been updated for several versions.

  8. Zenicetus says:

    So, now we can latch on to space rocks and “shove them about”, eh? It’s about time they weaponized the space program. Must have gotten some black project money from their government.

    Which continent on Kerbin do we target first?

    • LionsPhil says:

      The traditional reference point for landing things on Kerbin’s surface is, of course, the roof of the VAB.