Have you always wanted to go into space? Outraged that NASA cancelled its space shuttle program? With Kerbal Space Program, you can remedy both of these problems. Kerbal Space Program (or KSP for short) is developed by the independent studio Squad, and puts you in control of a space program where you design and pilot any manner of spacecraft you desire. If it flies, you can fly it. KSP allows you to build spacecraft using any number of parts that can be dragged, dropped, flipped and rotated into any configuration you want. From the classic shuttle to a vertical lifter rocket to a jet-like spaceplane, anything imaginable can be constructed. From there, you can take your creation to the launch pad or runway, and try to get it off the ground. Each component used to build your craft has different weight, drag, and lift properties, meaning that if your craft is too heavy, it will plummet to the ground as soon as the holding clamps are released. If your craft is weighted to one side, you can lose control and go crashing back to the ground. You could load your ship up with boosters and fuel, but once the tanks are empty, they’re just dead weight. Thankfully, KSP has a range of features that allow you to mitigate this problem. Engines, decouplers, clamps, and all manner of mechanical devices can be attached to your craft and activated in stages. You can use a number of solid fuel boosters to help your craft off the ground, and then detach them when they’re empty, to save the weight. Then a small engine can be activated in the next stage, pushing you away from the debris and further into space. When you do create a successful design and break the bonds of earth, then you’ll be greeted to a whole host of new activities. You can release satellites into orbits, send astronauts and rovers to the moon, or even venture into deep space and far off planets. KSP features realistic orbit, acceleration, and inertia physics, making it very easy to lose control of your space-bound craft, or give you no control at all. While wings and ailerons are great for maneuvering in-atmosphere, they do little to move your craft in space.
Kerbal Space Program is currently in its alpha build, and had been released to the public for purchase. At the moment, only the ship creation and flight are available in the game, with management of your space program and specific missions and objectives to become available in later releases. Purchasing now also gets you access to all later version of the game, including the beta and full releases. It is available now for $23 from the Kerbal Space Program website or the new Early Access section of the Steam store.
– by Sam