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The career mode, available since version 0.22 is the next mode after the sandbox mode and is still in development. Currently it makes heavy use of the new Research and Development facility (R&D) which features the technology tree and uses Science.


In Career Mode, the player can build vessels with only the parts unlocked thus far in the technology tree. Every game starts with the Start node unlocked already. All buildings are unlocked from the beginning, although the Spaceplane Hangar is not very important first. Basically no parts are available for spaceplane until unlocking tier four node Flight Control to get the first cockpit.

Unlike in Sandbox, the Research and Development facility is open and Science activities can be performed, giving results with descriptive "flavor text". Activities also yielding Science points to "research" and unlock currently locked nodes of the technology tree.

While for the first nodes a quick exploration of the nearby terrain suffice, later nodes require to visit other bodies. Especially Kerbin's moons Mun and Minmus are the primary target for the middle game as they can be reached quickly and easily. Both also feature biomes which greatly improve the scientific results.

First missions

Usually one of the first missions is simply “launching” the Command Pod Mk1 on the launch pad. This is similar to the earliest Apollo missions, though one was the infamous Apollo 1 fire. More sophisticated designs can be done to take advantage of the fact that the Kerbal Space Center already contains of three different biomes.

Depending on the amount of work and testing put into the first rockets they could basically go anywhere, especially with techniques like explosive decoupling. But usually the first rockets will barely, if even, exit the atmosphere. But landing in a different biome rises the amount of science gained. But because Crew and EVA Report only return science the first time performed, visiting the same biome multiple times without having new scientific instruments on board isn't helpful. Surface Samples can be repeated six times, but each time which diminishing results making it not worthwhile to land on the same biome only to improve that.

Scientific instruments

To accelerate the amount of science returned, one should try to develop first the instruments. With those it is possible to gain even more science to compensate for the fact that technology tree nodes become increasingly expensive.


This page has been requested to be moved to Tutorial:Start a career game.

The given reason is: This section is more like a tutorial (how to do something) than a explanation how career mode works. I rarely only launch a command pod in the early game for example.

First Mission

To quickly advance beyond the Start node in the tech tree, a purely ground-based mission can be done by "launching" a capsule without an engine from the Launch pad. This is similar to the earliest Apollo missions, though one was the infamous Apollo 1 fire.

Three science activities can be done at this tech level:

Crew Reports and EVA Reports earn Science only the first time performed in a given situation and biome. Surface Samples can be repeated for fewer points each time, reaching 0.0 after at six times.

Poly-Six Pod

The highest netting engine-less first mission involves stacking six (five gives nearly the same payout) Command Pod Mk1s in the Vehicle Assembly Building, turning the stack sideways with the A or D key, and rolling north off the LaunchPad across the Kerbal Space Center grounds to the Runway.

Start by taking and storing one Crew Report from the LaunchPad. Exit the pod to take the "EVA Report from LaunchPad", then take a Surface Sample, right click on a Command Pod to store data, then repeat with just the Surface Sample for each of the other pods. You'll repeat this procedure after rolling off the LaunchPad onto KSC and rolling up onto the Runway. It's possible to get a "Crew Report while flying over Kerbin's Shores" while in mid-air just after rolling off the north side of the LaunchPad.

Hanging on to a Command Pod for an EVA Report counts as "flying over Kerbin's Shores". However, in certain rare, poorly understood glitches (possibly related to split second timing while jumping on top of a ship), it is possible to get "flying over Kerbin's" EVA Reports for the LaunchPad, KSC, and the Runway.

Once on the KSC grounds, if your kerbonaut manages to be in ragdoll mode (not standing up) while on the ground, you can take an EVA Report and Surface Samples from the Shores biome. Repeat the Surface Samples four more times.

The total net for this is 93 Science Points, oddly rounded down to 92. This is enough to buy Basic Rocketry, Survivability, Science Tech, plus either General Rocketry or Stability.

Rocket Surgery to Minmus

Alternatively, one can use a more elaborate form of explosive decoupling that KSP YouTuber Scott Manley dubs "rocket surgery" with solid rocket boosters to do a mission all the way to Minmus, as seen in his video "Kerbal Space Program - 0.22! Lets Do Science! Lots Of Science". The mission depicted netted 351.5 Science.

It's possible this tech could also reach Duna.

Possible future features

The following sections are missing citations to prove their validity.

Money and Stock

  • The Career mode will add limited money, with parts costing the amount shown.
  • There will be a limited amount of parts in stock. It has been said that if the parts land safely, they can be reused.
  • It is planned that if a part of KSC is damaged, repairing it will cost money.


During a development chat, one of the devs said that things have to be "discovered" with a telescope or probe to find out information about it. For example, if a craft were going to Jool, and looked in Map View, it would look like a giant green sphere unless a probe had already been send there with cameras and scientific instruments. Cameras will be added to the game in a further update.

With 0.23.10[outdated] asteroids need to be discovered and monitored to know their orbits.[1]


  1. “Asteroid Redirect Mission - The FAQ” by Rowsdower released on March 14th