Tutorial: Land at the Space Center
Landing at the Kerbal Space Center
- Length: 30–40 minutes
- Difficulty: Easier than a Mun landing. Smaller rockets can do this easily.
- Skills needed: Orbit adjustment (via prograde/retrograde burns at peri-kerbin/apo-kerbin)
- For version: Every version (tested on 0.13.1)
Step 0 - Rocket Design
Step 1 - Circular Orbit
The easiest way that I've found is to start with a circular 150 km orbit. Other orbits may work, and if you find one, do edit this page and add the info!
- 110 km up works for the Mk1-2 pod, and 75 km up for the Mk1 pod, in KSP 1.0.5. Examples here.
Try to keep this orbit as flat as possible, otherwise you may miss KSC to the north or south. A way to find if you are too far north/south is to set the Mün as your target. The ascending/descending nodes will appear, telling your degrees north/south. Make sure the degrees are at zero exactly. Or even better, burn until it shows NaN.
Step 2 - De-Orbit Timing
This is the tricky bit. If Kerbin didn't have any air, we would just retro-burn on the far side of Kerbin until the periapsis point touches the ground. However, Kerbin's atmosphere will slow us down, and we would land short roughly on the west coast of the peninsula past the KSC. So we will need to de-orbit roughly 90 degrees ahead of the KSC, and place the periapsis at roughly 90 degrees beyond KSC.
Step 3 - Tweaking the landing point
If, for some reason, the peri-Kerbin isn't right on the dot, here's what you can do to adjust your landing point: Remember, burning in prograde will just lift the periapsis off of the ground, and you may wind up overshooting the whole planet!
Step 4 - Enjoy the ride
Remember to jettison everything (except for the CM and parachute) before you hit the atmosphere. The empty tanks, fins, etc., will provide unaccounted drag and will make you miss the KSC.
Landing at the KSC is pretty simple once you figure out where you should start your retrograde burn.