A contract is a request by a manufacturer to test their hardware under specific conditions which was added in version 0.24[outdated] for career mode. The first contracts are predefined but they transition to randomly created contracts. They are then based on templates where only the specific properties need to be set.
Accepting a contract is optional but there will be rewards if the contract was successfully finished and penalties for failures. Contracts will reward science, in game currency and reputation if successful. Failing a mission will cause loss of in game currency. Multiple contracts can be activated at the same time but some have deadlines. Multiple contracts can be completed by the same craft. Their difficulty ranges from trivial tasks to exceptionally difficult missions.
Types of contracts
As of version 0.24[outdated], there are five types of contracts.
Part testing involves building a craft with a certain part and testing under a set of test conditions. Different contracts may specify different conditions under which the part must be tested, for example, it may need to be tested when the craft has landed, or is in the water, or when the craft is at a certain altitude and speed. If the player has not unlocked the required part, it will be available in the VAB until the contract is completed or has been failed.
Rescue contracts generate a specific situation, like a stranded kerbonaut, which will be generated as soon as the contract is accepted. Objects spawned by rescue contracts can't be controlled until a craft is within 2.5 km of the object by pressing [ to switch between nearby craft.
Data collection contracts require that the player gain some data from a specific location. For example, the player may need to transmit or return data from Kerbin orbit. It doesn't matter if the data no longer has scientific value.
Exploration contracts require that the player go to the SOI of a planet or moon, then land on its surface and transmit or return the data from the mission.
Flag planting contracts require a kerbonaut to plant a flag on a moon or planet.
- “First Contract Playthrough” by Miguel (Maxmaps) uploaded on the official Kerbal Space Program channel released on the 11 July.
- “Version 0.24 - Overview (Kerbal Space Program)” by HOCgaming released on July 14, 2014
- “Kerbal Space Program - Early Access Look At Update v0.24” by Scott Manley released on July 14, 2014