In Kerbal Space Program, you can re-create real-life space missions with a pretty good degree of accuracy. Historical reenactments are a lot of fun, and you’ll often learn some space history along the way. In this chapter, we’ll be re-creating some important firsts: the first satellite, the first person in space, the first space docking, the first soft landing and first crewed landing on the moon, and the first lunar rover.
For these missions, we won’t be using any mods—no custom parts and no autopilot. This has two consequences: because we’re using only the built-in rocket parts provided by KSP, the ships won’t look entirely the same, but they’ll come close enough. Second, the lack of an autopilot means that these missions will actually be slightly harder to fly than the initial missions. To be fair, though, the original missions had to deal with actual rockets and explosive fuel, so that evens the score a little.
Additionally, every mission that we’re re-creating in this chapter included science gear, which was brought along to serve the mission’s goal of discovery. We won’t be including these in our re-creations: our goal will be re-creating the look and behavior of the vessels, but not necessarily the science or the innards.
With all of these caveats in mind, let’s press on!
We flew all of these missions in Normal difficulty, and using the game’s Sandbox mode, which means you don’t have to worry about the cost of your ships or the capabilities ...