Kerbal Space Program chronicle, part three — Coconut Monkey presents Fuel Trader

Ian Birnbaum at

Kerbal Space Program is an open-world universe simulator that specializes in modeling orbits, atmosphere, gravity and rocket physics. With nothing but your wits and an array of space vehicle parts, your task is to explore. In this chronicle, I will be recording the first missions of the PCGSA, PC Gamer's ambitious new space program.

If you want to get caught up, here are Part One and Part Two.

Last time, Wildo Kerman earned a spot in the history books by becoming the first Kerbal to survive the rigors of spaceflight. Now, our attention wanders deeper into space to our nearest neighbor, the Mün.

To break completely free of Kerbin’s orbit, though, requires a lot of fuel. My rocket scientists tell me that there are two ways to go about this. I can make an incredibly huge rocket to get all the way to the Mün in one shot, or I can just get a regular rocket into orbit and refuel it from an orbiting station.

Designing colossal rockets has never been my strong suit, and I watched way too much Deep Space Nine, so it’s decided: we’ll be setting up Coconut Monkey Space Station, a permanent orbital station that will serve as a fueling stop for our eventual mission to the Mün. It will be the system’s first 7-11 stocked with premium rocket fuel and lottery scratch-off tickets, a vital stop for future flights in space.

We head down to the Vehicle Assembly Bay and hey, woah! This place looks amazing! Apparently the ground support team found time to redecorate and, well, rebuild the entire complex since last week. Nice job, guys. Love what you’ve done with the walls.

The rocket design nerds already have a prototype done up, and it’s nice and simple. A pair of solar arrays, a full complement of batteries, a spacious living module and a docking hub: everything a permanent space station could need.

I’ve been attending a lot of conferences with other rocket designers, and my favorite new trick is a simple one: I attach spare fuel tanks to the support clamps and hose them in. Now I can ignite the engines and bring them to full burn without wasting any on-board fuel. Does it help get into orbit? No one’s sure, but it definitely looks cool.

What once felt like a major achievement has now become routine: I launch the base module for Coconut Monkey Space Station into orbit. Remember when that was a huge deal? Life was simpler back then.

In a solid, circular orbit, I extend the solar panels and turn on the scientific instruments. Kerbin now has a resident living permanently off-world. He tells me over the radio that he ran up a bunch of credit card debt before he left because bill collectors will never find him now. He cries when I tell him I’ll be rotating the crew every few months, poor guy.