An extra-vehicular activity or EVA is an activity outside the craft. Kerbals can leave the (relative) safety of their capsule and venture out into the world to perform maintenance tasks, perform science, or simply go exploring.
To start an EVA, open the exterior (default) view of a manned spacecraft by pressing C and then either left click on the capsule door or mouse over the images in the lower right corner and click the EVA button. To re-enter the capsule, approach the door and press F. The Kerbals can navigate outside their spacecraft by climbing ladders, walking, or using their personal RCS jetpacks, which have a Δv of 600 m/s RCS fuel that is completely restored upon entering a command pod. With version 0.23 an EVA suit can carry 5 units of EVA propellant. Prior to that version the jetpack fuel was represented by an arbitrary percentage that did not correspond to any other resource. Along with the change monopropellant was meant to be deducted from the spacecraft's tanks and place a cap on any given mission's EVA capability. However, a bug prevents that deduction from taking place, so jetpacks can still be refueled an unlimited number of times.
Jetpacking is impossible in more than 3.2 m/s2 gravity, excluding Kerbin, Eve, Laythe and Tylo. The largest planet on which the jetpack can lift a Kerbal off the ground is Duna. The engines of the jetpack have a thrust of about 270 newtons, which is slightly more than a quarter of the maximum thrust available by the stock RCS thrusters.
EVAs are useful for exploring the proximity of a craft; Kerbals on EVA can perform several useful actions by standing near certain objects. These are the tasks that may be performed:
- Repack a previously deployed parachute for another deployment (Right-click on parachute → Repack Chute).
- Fix broken rover wheels (Right-click on wheel → Repair Wheel). For this to succeed the wheel must be only mildly damaged; a wheel which has exploded or detached from the ship cannot be recovered.
- Extend or retract solar panels (Right-click on panel → Extend Panel/Retract Panel), even panels on otherwise uncontrollable vessels, e.g. a probe that ran out of power.
- Plant a Extend-o-matic Series A1 Deployable Flag (commonly called flag) at their current position (Right-click on Kerbal → Plant Flag). This is only possible when the kerbal stands on the ground. Each kerbal is equipped with a single flag at the start of every EVA.
- Remove a previously planted flag (Right-click on flag → Remove Flag). The flag goes into their inventory and may be replanted at a new location.
- Read the plaque on a flag. While flags are listed in the Tracking Station and can be controlled and seen up close at any time, having a Kerbal in the vicinity is the only way to read the contents of their plaques.
- Board any unoccupied command module or EAS-1 External Command Seat- not necessarily the one they launched on. EVA is currently the only way to move kerbals between craft, or between different positions on the same craft, during a mission.
- Produce an EVA report. Reports may be generated repeatedly during an EVA but only one may be returned to the ship for transmission at a time.
- Gather a surface sample. Surface samples can only be taken when the kerbal stands on the terrain of a celestial body, and only one may be returned to the ship at a time.
- Take the scientific results from experiments and store them in a command pod. When the part is only reusable with the lab this will block the part as well.
When a Kerbal on EVA is standing on a solid surface, the W, S, A, and D keys move him forward, backwards, left, or right respectively. Note that this is relative to the camera, not to the Kerbal himself- he will turn to move in the requested direction. Space will make him jump, and holding down ⇧ Shift will allow him to run. Kerbals can also swim in bodies of water or other liquids they encounter; the movement controls are the same as on solid ground.
When a kerbonaut loses his footing, jumps, or releases his grip on a vehicle in zero gravity, he enters free fall. The controls function somewhat differently in this situation.
Pressing R will activate the Kerbonaut's RCS jetpack. If he is in midair, he will attempt to automatically reorient himself to face in the same direction as the camera. The jetpack can also be activated while standing on the ground, and on bodies with sufficiently low gravity can launch Kerbals into the air for one-man VTOL flight.
When a Kerbonaut with an active jetpack is freefalling, W, S, A, and D still move him, but rather than face the direction of his travel he rotates to face away from the camera whenever a key is pressed. ⇧ Shift and ^ Control will move him up and down. Space will also rotate him to match the camera direction.
Additionally, left-clicking on a kerbal and dragging the mouse can be used to rotate the kerbal while on EVA.
Press F to grab onto nearby ladders or other handholds (a prompt will be visible onscreen when the kerbal is in a position where this is possible). While holding on, use W and S to climb up or down, or A and D to transition to nearby perpendicular ladders. If the Kerbal is clinging to a command module's hatch, pressing F will board the vehicle. Pressing Space while on a ladder will release the kerbonaut's grip, allowing him to fall or float away.
Finally, pressing L will toggle the spacesuit's lights.
- Kerbals can survive re-entry in EAS-1 External Command Seats or floating on their own like anything else, since the game does not implement damage from atmospheric drag or heating. However, the jetpack does not have enough thrust to arrest their fall in Kerbin's gravity so without additional equipment they will not survive hitting the ground.
- However, a glitch/easter egg (a glitch too funny to fix?) may cause a Kerbal hitting the surface of Kerbin (no confirmation in other spots) to BOUNCE.
- According to the Kerbal Knowledge Base, a Kerbal on EVA masses 0.09 tonnes, but a vehicle's mass does not increase when a Kerbal boards it.
- The jetpack can provide enough Δv to place a Kerbal into orbit from the surface of Mun or Minmus or smaller bodies.
- As of 0.24, EVA is the only way to transfer a Kerbal between cabins.
- On EVA the results of experiments can be taken out.
- Surface samples and EVA reports can be created on EVA.
- Overhauled the Kerbal Face Expression System with new animations, which are also visible on EVA.
- Fixed the EVA map icons not showing.
- Fixed EVA light orientations.
- Boarding a vessel from EVA no longer toggles the SAS on the vessel.
- 0.18.3 (Demo)
- Fixed EVA light orientations.
- Boarding a vessel from EVA no longer toggles the vessel's SAS state.
- The Q and E keys can now be used to control yaw with the EVA Jetpack
- Added a game setting to disable the automatic orientation when pressing any of the WSAD keys while jetpacking on EVA.
- Implemented dynamic walk cycle blending for EVA Kerbals under G levels between 0.17 and 1G
- Initial Release
- Added key and axis bindings for EVA controls. Reorganized the Input Settings screen a little.
- Added 1:1 EVA rotation axes. Using them disables the automatic orientation system.
- Added separate control bindings for walking and jetpacking on EVAs.
- Extra-Vehicular Activity on Wikipedia