Tutorial:Story line contracts strategy

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The game has a set of story line contracts in career mode. It allows you to do several tasks to show that all the celestial bodies have been discovered and mastered. Unfortunately the missions require do get back to Kerbin from the foreign body very often (after flyby, after orbit, after landing,...). Therefore you must prepare accordingly to avoid wasting ships going far away from home especially when cost is important.

Golden rules

  • Do EXACTLY what the contract asks you! Not more! For example don't dock ships if you are just asked to rendezvous or transfer a kerbonaut!
  • When a contract is finished, stop doing anything else and go directly to the mission control to unlock the next storyline contract. There could still be things to do there while you're in orbit
  • Save, and save again!
  • Always send manned ships. Return of debris doesn't count
  • When two ships are required (docking, rendez-vous and EVA transfer) they must not be two parts of a main ship.

The ship and its parts

In order to "set" things for the next missions, build a first ship with the 3 modules below :

The interplanetary system

This part will transport the modules and kerbals to the next planet :

  • a full interplanetary system (Nervs, fuel tanks,...)
  • a Kerbin-reentry capable system (ablator, parachutes)

The "transfer module"

This part will only be use for the EVA/Transfer/Rendezvous/docking mission. It must contain at minimal

  • a lander can or any command pod/cockpit
  • a docking port or a klaw
  • if possible/wanted a booster and enough delta-v to go to the nearby moons
  • if you want to land probes on atmospheric planets, put a relay antenna on your transfer module

The lander

This will be used for the land/retrive from surface mission. It must be manned because robots cannot plant flags...

  • a command pod, and a ladder to climb back
  • parachutes, and an engineer to repair them in order to go back to Kerbin
  • RCS and a dock/klaw to dock back to the mothership
  • enough delta-v to deorbit, land and reorbit from the surface. Check the delta-v map and double the value to give yourself a soft margin
  • a Kerbin-reentry capable module

Once you set all up, all you have to do for the next missions is just send an interplanetary ship with a Kerbin-reentry capable module and a docking port

The missions

Science experiment

This is why you should bring a crew to the celestial body, or at least bring a reusable element like the gravioli detector to harvest as much science as possible.


The mission asks for a flyby of the celestial body and a retrieval of the ship on Kerbin.

This is your opportunity to get into orbit instead and leave the transfer module and the lander both completely decoupled.


Same as flyby. If you forgot to bring something there, here's another chance!

Rendezvous, EVA and transfer

Use the "transfer module" you left in orbit during the previous missions to do this, rendezvous with it. Do not dock to it (yet). Keep it in orbit if the mission wants you to go back to Kerbin.

If you didn't bring a transfer module, this is exactly the mission you want while saving stranded kerbonauts. It is possible to do this with a ship which lacks RCS controllers by precise and low burning of the main engine.


This mission asks for docking a ship. You don't have to go back to Kerbin, the mission is here to validate you have build some sort of space station. Just send a probe with a clamp or a klaw and dock with the transfer module, or use your mothership if it is still there.

While you're at it, use your mothership to bring the transfer module to another moon!

Land and plant a flag

This is why you have brought a manned lander. Be sure your lander has enough delta-v to land and go back to orbit by doing an intermediate save. If it is ok, just land and plant your flag (and do science if you want)! You will be able to take off when the new "return from surface" contract will appear.

Return from surface

You are still on the planet right? Good! Take off and rendezvous with a mothership stayed in orbit which has a lot more fuel to take you back home! Warning, a kerbal who achieved stable orbit with its own jetpack doesn't count! At least the command pod must be brought back!

Specific bodies missions

Eve : Touch the surface / splash down

In this Eve mission both elements might be asked for the same contract. Warning, surface and water are not the same, but can be done by only one moving probe or rover. Just be sure to land near a shore.

Kerbol : Docking and EVA transfer around the Sun

Kerbol transfers and docking parts is quite hard because any wrong manoeuver can induce an error of several kilometers and manoeuver windows and encounters can be within years!

For the docking part, see if you left a stage in Kerbol's orbit near Kerbin during a previous mission, or a failed retrograde burn near the Mun.

For the transfer part, you have no choice but to send two separated ships very near in order for the second to quickly catch the other. Remember that in orbit when an object is front of you, you must decelerate, and vice-versa.

Beginners might need to save Jebediah from Kerbol's orbit, this is your chance to win money from it!

Good luck!


That's it! Feel free to enhance this tutorial and share the storyline missions you where given in your career game!