Tutorial:Hopping around celestial bodies

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Hopping around celestial bodies

Still in process of being written, hang on...

So you've arrived on the Mun. Time to explore all those different biomes for science! Or maybe you're in career mode and have contracts to investigate various locations. Either way, you need to get around the place.

On planets with an atmosphere, spaceplanes will be the most efficient way of going from place to place, but without an atmosphere they are not an option.

Therefore, this tutorial explains various ways of getting there in a vaccum.


  • Length: ca. 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • For version: Every version


Choose your vehicle


Your kerbonaut can walk at about 1 m/s. Around the Mun that would take 1.2 million seconds (about 2 weeks of game time, and you can only do 4x time warp while moving over the surface), so that's clearly only an option for very nearby sites.


Rovers are a little faster than kerbonauts,

Designing your hopper

You're free to design your hopper as you like. However you should remember the following points:

  • Remember to make it as light as possible, every kilogram counts!
  • Start with a small rocket and fuel tank.
  • Add solar panels, batteries and an antenna.
  • Don't forget the science instruments. But ignore the barometer; because there is no atmosphere it will not work.

Manned or unmanned?


  • The unmanned flight computers are very light, so you save fuel. Make sure to take one with SAS. The Retrograde Hold SAS option will be helpful for landing.
  • No possibility for crew reports or surface samples as required by many contracts.


  • All possible sources of science (including crew reports and surface samples) are supported.
  • Command pods are heavy. My heaviest unmanned hopper including half a ton of fuel is lighter than even just the Mk1 Lander Can!
  • While you can go with an EAS-1 External Command Seat, remember cannot be used to store data or surface samples for example. While it makes for an extremely light fuel-saving vehicle, you're going to have to return to a command pod after each site visut or lose science points due to transmission inefficiency. You'll also need a Reaction wheel.
  • If you decide to go with the EAS-1 External Command Seat, make sure the seat is positioned so that the kerbonaut faces away from the rocket, or the prograde/retrograde indicators will not work correctly! This is usually not how the vehicle designer will place it by default. If the rocket faces down, the feet pedals have to face up. Make sure to test it before launching.


We'll ignore the

  • If you have a contract, open map view and click on the site to enable navigation. Otherwise, figure out the heading manually.
  • Enable SAS. Your pilot can now balance the hopper on one of its legs until

Things to note

  • Do not make a gravity turn! We don't want to optimize our horizontal velocity for orbit, we want to land again, so a gravity turn actually wastes fuel here.

Step 3 - This is no weird?!

Exactly, this isn't any weird at all!

Finishing word

Tada! Now you've read a full tutorial. Congratulations!