Tag Archives: Kerbal Space Program

No time

It’s been a slow week for the blog again. At least I had the post on Monday. (Which I actually had written last week, but being the sneaky bastard that I am, I decided to save it for slow times, which came soon, so it all went according to plan!)

The week has been time-consuming at work. That’s not all though, because when I was done, I rushed home every day to focus on this:

The command and lander module of a Saturn-like (though not really Saturn-look-alike) rocket, orbiting the Mun.

The command and lander module of a Saturn-like (though only vaguely Saturn-look-alike) rocket, orbiting the Mun.

When I first heard about Kerbal Space Program some time ago (months? half a year?), it sounded interesting, but I didn’t have the time to check it out. Last weekend, I read an article about the space race, suddenly remembered the game, and tried it out.

Since then, I’ve spent every free minute in the game. I’ve eaten in front of the computer, or not eaten at all at home. (Yes, really.) It probably won’t last more than a couple more days before I get bored, though. You know the Bladerunner quote with the relationship between illuminative and temporal quantities of wax-based light sources.

I’ve built my share of exploding rockets and other shenanigans, but I’ve always rescued my Kerbals by virtue of the “load quicksave” and “revert flight” buttons. With some help from the excellent wiki, I’ve gone into orbit, visited Minmus, pulled off gravity slingshots, and practiced synchronizing orbits and docking in space. The last one is by far the hardest and most frustrating part. I’m just not very good at it. It seems to require the same abilities that you need to neatly land on a landing strip in a flight simulator, something that also took me ages to learn… I always landed at a sideways angle, which makes the runway somewhat useless (and the plane, too, afterwards).

At the moment, I’m working on a Apollo-like Mun landing. (Cue nasal Bostonian Kennedy accent with weird mid-sentence rises: “achieving the goal? Before this decade is out? Of landing a Kerbal on the Mun? and returning him safely to Kerbin.”) This meant creating a command module, a landing module, and strapping both of them to a huge pile of highly explosive fuel, which then is lit.

That part went surprisingly well. Both parts then traveled towards the Mun, to prepare for a Lunar (I mean Munar… this is confusing) Orbit Rendezvous maneuver. The lander was stuffed with my old friend Jebediah Kerbal and his buddy Bob, and off they went.

That's actually not that small a step there.

That’s actually not that small a step there.

Success! We come in peace for all Kerbalkind, yadda yadda.

The landing itself wasn’t actually all that bad. I bounced off the ground about 2 meters on the first try, mostly because I hadn’t managed to completely control my lateral speed, but then gently set down. The hardest part is yet to come, though. I have to launch from the surface, synchronize my orbit with the command module, and dock to transfer my Kerbals all back into one pod and pool all the remaining fuel in the command module’s tanks. I just hope that maneuver itself won’t cost too much fuel, so I’ll have enough to make it back to Kerbin…