Interns And Explosions: Kerbal Space Program’s Latest


You might think yourself a real Top Gun, the next Dan Dare, or a veritable Buck Rogers. Kerbal Space Program has been out long enough for you, oh mighty pilot, to master space flight and possibly get a bit cocky. Don’t worry, the latest update has added new things to cock up. Your space centre is destructible now, for starters. It also bulks out the Career Mode a little with new strategies that might help you but can backfire, like unpaid interns. KSP’s on sale for a few days to celebrate.

Administration are behind those bad ideas, of course. Damnable Administration. The new Administration Facility building in Career Mode lets you pick three strategies that burn one resource for another. Aggressive Negotiations eat reputation but save cash, open-sourcing your tech will boost your reputation but lower earnings, while unpaid research interns get you extra science at the cost of your reputation. You cannot, sadly, send interns into space.

If you, in an act of rebellion and impressive role-playing, want to take down those stuffed shirts in Administration, you can. Every building in the space centre is destructible now, so you could accidentally drop your boosters in just the right spot to take them down. Take that, The Man.

For the next day-and-a-half or so, KSP is £13.79 on Steam or direct from developers Squad.

Here, check the update notes and FAQ. It’s got cargo bays and space plane bits too. Watch:


  1. gorgonaut says:

    I never considered that partial self destruction might me a viable business strategy. The more you know!

    • tigerfort says:

      Depends on how you define viable. It’ll reduce costs in the short term, but might bring your share price tumbling to earth.

      • gorgonaut says:

        I’ve often had the urge to crash a much-too-elaborate rocket into the administration building at work. But, I’d rather send them all to Eloo!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      That is exactly why insider trading is both illegal and extremely harshly enforced. Yeah, it might not be fair to imprison the guys who weren’t intending to keep secrets but forgot that something relevant they knew wasn’t public knowledge before they sold shares, but it’s the only way to prevent the kind of shenanigans that has ruined long-standing institutions.

      See the movie Hudsucker Proxy for more on this.

      • Matt_W says:

        One of my favorite movies! GOOOOOO Eagles!

        To be fair, I’m not sure the activities of the board in THP constitute insider trading. Hudsucker’s demise and the distribution of his estate via probate would have been public knowledge. Norville’s selection as President was public knowledge. The board’s selling off of its shares (or rather Mussburger’s selling of them) was also public knowledge (though I’m not sure how they continued to be board members with no stock.) The board could probably have been sued by other shareholders for a breach of fiduciary duty or for self-dealing, but probably not for insider trading.

  2. JiminyJickers says:

    I love this game so much, haven’t played it since just before it came out on Steam. Will have to get back into it again. Well, after I get through my new release backlog at the moment.

  3. Eukatheude says:

    Never played it, but I’ve never figured out the hype since Orbiter has been around, and free, for quite a while.

    • Cinek says:

      And Orbiter actually got some proper atmosphere, not just weird force fields that don’t make any sense, no matter how hard you try.
      If only orbiter would have an option to build your own spacecrafts…. now that would be a game-changer. Sadly it doesn’t, so if you want to play with some more creative stuff – there’s only one option: KSP.

      I so very much wish someone would release proper game about spaceflight with rocket & spacecraft designer, one that includes simulation elements not just on the adverts but in the game itself too, one aiming at an adult audience, not kids at school!

      • Harlander says:

        How do you rate atmosphere-related mods like Deadly Reentry and Ferram Aerospace?

        • Cinek says:

          As a mandatory to enjoy KSP.
          Still though – it’s pathetic that you need to resort to the mods to make game decent. It’s something I expect from Ubisoft or EA, not an indie developers.

          • Harlander says:

            Yes, how pathetic that the devs would have a different idea of what is required to make their game ‘decent’ to you.

          • Cinek says:

            It’s not about that is decent for me, it’s about what was advertised. Let me quote KSP website: “Fully-fledged, Physics-based Flight Simulation ensures everything will fly as it should.” – it doesn’t, not with this “atmosphere”. That’s a clear, EA-level, false advertisement.

            FAR (or heck, even NEAR) is a mod that makes the game as it was advertised. And yes – it is pathetic that you’re forced to use mods in order to get what you paid for in a first place.

            I hope that it’ll get fixed before the 1.0 release, as the game is still in an early access, so placeholders are understandable, but don’t try to defend that shit that currently pretends to be an atmosphere in KSP.

          • Synesthesia says:

            I will begin my crusade to get everyone at their office fired, how DARE they! The gall to not create a fully fledged simulation of atmosphere on every celestial body of the kerbal solar system, during alpha, no less! How hard can that be? God knows we should be telling them how to design their game, and as we deem fun. And they are charging 18 dollars for it? ZOMG. Somebody swat them or something. The Fuckers. Pathetic.

            Jesus dude.

          • Harlander says:

            OK. You actually make a valid point, once run through the hyperbole filter three or four thousand times.

            Though I think the atmospheric model is good enough… *runs*

          • hamilcarp says:

            Get over yourself Cinek. They are indie developers, working on a tight budget, and the game isn’t even a full release yet. I agree that the physics modelling leaves a lot to be desired but calling a small indie dev “pathetic” for a WIP.. that is just so arrogant and disrepectful. We should be lauding these small developers for their innovations, not calling their unfinished products pathetic.

            But not all indie devs are created equal. Like Uber. That company deserves to be called pathetic.

          • Tritri says:

            I’m deeply sorry for you if you can’t enjoy a deeply fun and interesting game only because you consider that the atmospheres are crappy.
            Orbiter is a nice simulator, but there is nothin fun about it. KSP is interesting, an enlightning on the basics of spaceflight, that you can, if you want, explore more you can go to Orbiter. Maybe you are a scientist, and that’s why you find KSP not good, but try to understand the not-so-scientist around here. ANd you can make anything you want, and the game is in freaking in alpha

          • WyldFyr says:

            Played Orbiter and played KSP. Was going to post a reply filled with rage and sarcasm, but decided to just go with sarcasm, since there’s already enough rage here. You are right, Orbiter’s perfect simulation of a state-of-the-art on-board navigation computer from 1986 is way better than KSP’s point-in-click mission control screen. Who needs more than 2 colors anyway??? [/sarcasm]
            I can see being upset about missing physics, and I do hope the devs deliver (on a side note, I’m still waiting for Minecraft’s native MOD support, so I know the feeling), but that dosn’t make orbiter better, or more fun, even if its free and “realistic”.

        • Matt_W says:

          I’d say Deadly Reentry adds significantly to the base game. I’d only use FAR if you’re planning to build spaceplanes. FAR kills the part balance for rockets; it saves you 1000-1500 m/s getting to orbit with FAR’s atmospheric model.

          I’d also recommend — if you’re planning to play through career mode — checking out Better Than Starting Manned. It’s a total conversion of the career mode playthough (by the same guy who made Better Than Wolves for Minecraft) exquisitely balanced for challenge and progression.

        • goertzenator says:

          I do like FAR/NEAR, but it is a lot harder to build a stable rocket than with stock aerodynamics. This simple model is great for newbs who have enough to learn when first dropped into KSP. Ideally I’d like to see selectable atmosphere models.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Great when you are ready to increase the challenge. I love having spaceplanes tumble out of control on re-entry, break apart, and burn up.

          Absolutely should not be in the base game. You’ve got enough to worry about when first starting off.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      Yes, the stock game’s atmospheric modeling is pretty crummy – but, as so often, There Is A Mod For That:
      link to

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      They’re different games in most respects. Orbiter is a proper flightsim in space, KSP is a less rigorous simulation, but allows (requires) you to design and build your own craft and missions.
      Think of it as the difference between Airfix and Lego.

    • Matt_W says:

      I love Orbiter, but KSP has a few features that Orbiter does not:

      1) The ability to build your own rockets and spaceplanes from components.
      2) Terrain. Yes, Orbiter 2014 supposedly will have terrain, but it doesn’t work all that well yet and it requires something like 100GB of downloads. It’s hard to overstate how much terrain adds to gameplay. Orbiter’s great until you land your Deltaglider on the hard, flat ocean surface.
      3) Maneuver nodes. The ability to see your future trajectories in 3D space is what makes orbital mechanics intuitive. Orbiter has nothing like it.
      4) Collision physics. KSP allows you to collide vessels together, calculates momentum transfer correctly, models joint physics, and has much more realistic docking than Orbiter. Orbiter has no vessel-to-vessel collision model at all, and docking is just a matter of getting your docking ports in the same vicinity.
      5) A tech tree and economy when playing in career mode.

  4. drinniol says:

    If only the tech trees weren’t so arbitrary and stupid and the contracts made sense. Nothing that’s unfixable but it has sapped the fun for a while. While I know many of the players on the forums are adept at grinding every little research point at every level of the tech tree, ever since they nerfed the science you can get from probes I’ve found it very dull.

    • Cinek says:

      Try new administration building. Now they made science in this game so ridiculously easy that it’s pointless. You can research good 2/3 of a tree in a single “test part” contract.

  5. Cinek says:

    Probably the most buggy patch ever released for the KSP.
    Feel free to skip it and wait for 0.25.1.

    Every single new feature they released in this patch is buggy – and on top of that they introduced few new bugs that didn’t exist in a previous version (such as Windows 64 bit version being completely unplayable due to constant crashes)

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Odd, the x64 build was working fine for me yesterday, apart from putting low res textures on everything.
      Ok, so not fine really, but not crashy, and I didn’t notice anything not working with the admin building, or the spaceplane parts I tried.
      (I’m assuming that the problems with my spaceplane were down to my terrible design, and the backwards rudders, but it did look a bit like an F22 so that was cool)

      • Cinek says:

        64 bit version got some critical issue that’s causing random crashes. Devs admitted it themselves before releasing the patch and there was a whole topic about that on a forum.
        Low res textures are another, separate bug – game is loosing configuration you had before applying patch. You need to re-configure game yourself (despite of saying that it’s running in full-res textures – it doesn’t) and restart it in order to see changes applied (game isn’t explaining that anywhere, but that’s what you have to do).
        Administration building completely f*** up game balance – You can get roughly 1/3 of a tech tree in a single contract without ever landing on any planet or moon.
        Spaceplanes, especially heavy spaceplanes, are causing random destruction of the runway – you spawn the spaceplane and runway explodes (apparently it happens with launch pad too). Also cargo bays don’t hold cargo. Try doing that: Mount two large cargo bays and put long fuel tanks inside – as soon as you’ll spawn it on a runway your fuel tanks will fall through the spaceplane and hit the ground with one end (white the other one is still mount in a plane).
        The problems with spaceplane design are mostly due to weird, forcefield-based “atmosphere” that KSP has. Try installing NEAR or FAR mods – they make designing of planes a breeze comparing to the stock atmosphere. Just don’t make a sharp turns and most of the planes that look like a real planes would fly fine.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          Heavy spaceplanes destroying the runway isn’t a bug, it’s a feature! Or at least, it’s kinda realistic (See the XB-36).
          I’m sure 0.25.2 will be better.

          • Cinek says:

            Yea, all these runways that XB-36 exploded! Dozens of them! You can still smell the smoke!

  6. defunct says:

    I’ve a question for this crowd, since everyone seems to enjoy the game.

    I REALLY want to like the game. I’ve downloaded the demo a few times, and I can launch a rocket, but I can never keep anything in space. I get frustrated after repeated attempts, even after following a youtube video. Will I get better if I keep trying or am I just a failure and should move on? It seems there’s somewhat of a learning curve here and I’m just wondering if I’ll ever get over it. Did anyone else have a problem, or am I alone?

    edit: Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I tried again, and wound up ‘strapping on increasing dangerous amounts of explosives’ to my ship, and I finally made orbit! And I even had enough fuel to deorbit the craft and get Bill back down on the planet! I’m pretty excited.

    • Cinek says:

      Get to 1km, turn 45 degrees, switch to the map view, wait till your AP marker will reach 70km altitude, cut the thrust to zero (X key), rotate your rocket horizontally, wait till you reach ~68km, turn your engines back to the maximum, look at the map view to see when your orbit comes out from the planet. Ideally you should have an orbit where both: PE and AP markers are above 68km.

      Try using some of the pre-build crafts. I don’t really recall them, but few should be capable of reaching an orbit just fine.

      You should try this video, it’s quite good tutorial with more details than these that I described and slightly different, more optimal, method: link to (first 10 minutes describe orbiting, last 10 is about science, EVA and reentry)

    • Lanfranc says:

      Yeah, I had huge problems at first as well, couldn’t barely even get into space at all. But once you understand what you’re doing wrong and how orbital mechanics work, it’ll be a lot easier. I recommend Scott Manley’s tutorial series, he explains it all very well: link to

      • defunct says:

        That’s the youtube video I mentioned. Since I can’t even get into space with his help, I think I’m hopeless. I’ll give it a pass, yet again.

        • Synesthesia says:

          Scott Manley is quite awesome at the tutorials. If you are having trouble, give the ingame ones a shot too. I remember them being not half bad.

          If piloting isnt your thing, mechjeb might save your life. I’d recommend just to keep trying until you get a grasp of orbital mechanics first, it’s hugely rewarding when you finally get it right.

          Keep at it!

          -is there any particular moment or problem you are having to get in orbit? Maybe if we identify the way the plan goes south we can help you.-

          • defunct says:

            Thanks for the encouragement. I’m trying again. From previous tries, I remember how to do some things, but it seems that Scott’s videos have been updated since last I tried them, so I’m going over them again. And the game has changed quite a lot since I last tried, too. Maybe I’ll be able to orbit this time.

    • sinister agent says:

      I just strapped increasingly irresponsible numbers of rockets onto a pod and fired them straight up, then turned left and fired another rocket. Eventually I reached space accidentally.

      Poor Jeb. It’s been three weeks now, and he’s still circling. The best part is that his elliptical orbit is very narrow, so once every day or so he gets within about 800km of earth, and is then flung off into space again.

      On the plus side, he technically accomplished his mission of circling the earth.

      • WiggumEsquilax says:


      • LionsPhil says:

        I just strapped increasingly irresponsible numbers of rockets onto a pod and fired them straight up, then turned left and fired another rocket. Eventually I reached space accidentally.

        Such is the way of the Kerbals.

    • Barfo says:

      What made things much easier for me was learning how to use the map view and maneuver nodes to my benefit. I never try and fire rockets unless ive already plotted out a maneuver node. Plus just noodling with maneuver nodes lets you sort of see hands-on what the effects are when you burn in a specific orbital direction which helps to build up your orbital intuition.

      As the guy above said, launch straight up at full thrusters until 10km, then turn to 45-60 degrees (navigation heading of 90 degrees on the plane of the planet) and switch to map view. When your apoapsis is at 70-80k, you cut all thrusters (“x”) and immediately set up a maneuver node at the apoapsis of your trajectory. Pull out the prograde manuever node to plot a prograde burn (this is the open green circle) until you see a periapsis appear and ideally get to over 70 km. Then just line up your heading in the navball with the blue node indicator, and note the estimated burn time for the manuever. You start maxing your thrusters when the time to node is half of the total burn time (so that you will have half the burn before and half after the node) and kill the thrusters after the delta-V indicator shows you have completed the burn.

      The only other problem that could plague you is if your rocket is not packing enough delta-V to actually obtain orbit, which would be an issue of rocket design. Its not necessarily obvious at the start of the game, but while its not too hard to get out of the atmosphere straight up, it takes about double that amount of acceleration to also circularize to a stable orbit.

      • defunct says:

        I’ve gotten as close as I’ve ever come with these instructions. Thank you! I just need to take more fuel next time! I’m vaguely encouraged!

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      There is definitely a learning curve to it. Orbital mechanics are radically different from everyday physics in a lot of ways, and they run counter to intuition in many places. It’s wonderfully satisfying to learn, though.

      If youtube isn’t working for you then you might need some specific help. A mentor would be great but I’d suggest just making a log of one of your attempts and posting some of the moment to moment details here or in the KSP forums to get some guidance. It sounds like either your orbit is dipping into the upper atmosphere and causing you to lose speed to atmospheric drag, or you aren’t actually adding “horizontal” speed to your orbit in the first place, allowing gravity to pull you back down after you run out of fuel.

      Remember, getting into orbit doesn’t mean going high enough to stop falling. It means going fast enough to miss the ground.

    • P.Funk says:

      Your biggest problem is most likely that your brain hasn’t adapted itself to the physics of the game that are 100% different to how TV and film and computer games have taught you that rockets and stuff work.

      KSP is also a game that is part of the trend that breaks from the norm of things being easy by default. Its a curve but once you break past that barrier of not being able to get into orbit you’ll become very comfortable with it, then things get much much easier til you become more ambitious and set out to put as many big and explosive things into orbit as you can.

      Stick with it.

    • drinniol says:

      Make sure in your turn you’re going with the planet rotation, too.

  7. OhioGamer says:

    I want new moons and planets. Or better yet just make the planets and moons we have now more detailed with caves and interesting things to find and see. I want to explore. I would love to take Kerbals to another planet and watch them build up a city by them selves after you established a functioning colony. Blowing up building was never on my things to do list. And it wont be. Disappointed.