Research and Development

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Research and Development
KSC building
Research and Development
Level 3
Level 1
Level 2
Level 1 Level 2
Location TinyKerbin.png Kerbin
TinyKSC.png Kerbal Space Center
Altitude 67 m
Since version 0.22

The Research and Development Facility(AKA R&D) was added in version 0.22 and is only accessible in Career mode and Science mode. In Sandbox mode the facility is closed.


Technology tree with the first two nodes unlocked

The R&D facility serves two functions: unlocking parts in nodes of the Technology tree, and reviewing the results of science activities. It also has some cool bridges to pilot under.

At the beginning of career mode, being at level 1, it allows unlocking science nodes that cost up to 100 Science. It also allows to do EVA Reports and Crew Reports. Upgraded once to level 2 it allows unlocking science nodes that cost up to 500 Science and also to do Surface Samples. With this level it also allows transferring resources manually between parts. At the highest level, 3, it allows unlocking all science nodes provided enough Science has been gathered.

Wernher von Kerman in the Science Archives

The Technology tab displays the tech tree. On it are the unlocked nodes and all nodes directly following them. Unlocking nodes requires Science points, though parts in locked nodes whose prerequisite nodes have been unlocked can be individually unlocked with funds on certain Game Difficulty settings.

The Science Archives allows browsing results of previously executed science activities. There are several filters available to limit it only to a specific body, situation, biome or experiment. Seeing which areas the experimental data is lacking from helps guide where best to send science-focused missions.


Agency logo of the Research & Development Department

Since version 0.24, Research & Development Department has been an agency offering contracts, one of only two[outdated] which is not a manufacturer. Their contracts are focused entirely on gathering Science data and doing things that have never been done before. Crew survival isn't unwelcome either.

Agency description

The Space Program's own Research & Development Department. Headed by celebrity rocket scientist Wernher von Kerman, these guys are the brains of the whole operation. Driven by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, no piece of data is too small or too irrelevant, and increasing the accumulated knowledge of Kerbalkind is their main motivation. Our resident geniuses only ask to be given due academic credit for their contributions to science, and that all astronauts PLEASE refrain from entering the labs without cleaning their boots first.


The Research and Development Facility is the largest structure in the Kerbal Space Center and consists of several buildings, though none are nearly as large as the Vehicle Assembly Building or the Spaceplane Hangar. Its complex architecture notably includes a two-storey tall tunnel through a large building and an elevated hallway connecting two buildings about five-storeys up. In the southwest corner is an observatory, presumably for an optical telescope. A separate building on the south side has massive ductwork for a wind tunnel. Nearby is a tank tower similar to that by the launch pad. Scattered around are numerous smaller buildings and quonset huts.


The result for taking a surface sample at KSC says it is the substance that “makes the scientists yell at us when we go into the labs without cleaning our boots first”. This theme may be a reference to real-life cases of extraterrestrial scientific samples being contaminated by terrestrial materials, such as the Earth bacteria discovered on drill bits used by Curiosity while on Mars.

If a player tries to enter the R&D facility in sandbox mode, a message will appear saying "The research and development facility is closed". Attempting to send experimental data (ex. from a Mystery Goo™ Containment Unit) will yield one of three messages such as "You feel that you aren't really learning anything."


  • Level 1: Free
    • Maximum research node cost: 100
  • Level 2: Funds676,500
    • Maximum research node cost: 500
    • Kerbals on EVA can collect surface samples (requires Astronaut complex at level 2)
    • Resource transfer available
  • Level 3: Funds2,535,000
    • No research node cost limit


  • Level 1: the R&D hex is available as an area biome. The Corner Lab is available as a structure biome, albeit not where it will be at Level 3.
  • Level 2: the R&D Corner Lab is temporarily removed, but the R&D Main Building is added as a structure biome instead.
  • Level 3: the R&D Corner Lab is re-added with a different model and location, and the Wind Tunnel, Tanks, Observatory, Central Building, Side Lab, and Small Lab are added as structure biomes.

Notes: structure biomes must be in contact with a craft to be accessed.


In the first official release in 0.23.5, the scientific progress was reset when visiting the facility using a save from an old version.[1] An update afterwards changing the version number to fixed that issue.[2]


  1. Notification from Rowsdower about that issue in the forums
  2. KSP: Asteroid Redirect Mission is Officially Released!” by HarvesteR released on April 1st 2014