The best Kerbal Space Program mods are essential for getting the most enjoyment out of the game in which you send poor Kerbals to their astronomical demise, though not for lack of trying. KSP is one of the all-time greats when it comes to PC gaming, but if you’re new then you’ll certainly be left scratching your head throughout your experience, because this literally is rocket science.
There are Kerbal Space Program mods on our list for everyone, though we’d definitely recommend getting through the tutorial in the space game first. It’s also the perfect time to spice up your KSP playthrough before the Kerbal Space Program 2 release date, which isn’t too far away, and could be one of the best PC games of all time if it manages to improve on everything the first introduced. Here are our picks for the best Kerbal Space Program mods.
The best Kerbal Space Program mods are:
- MechJeb 2
- Kerbal Engineer Redux
- Kerbal Interstellar Extended
- Kerbal Attachment System
- Docking Port Alignment Indicator
- Environmental Visual Enhancements
- B9 Aerospace
- Soviet Parts And Rockets
- BD Armory
There are older mods that, when introduced, created quite a furore in the community. MechJeb is certainly one of those. In-game, it’s a mechanical copy of our hero, Jebidiah Kerman’s, neural patterns — such as they are. In practice, it’s a massless device which opens up an entire suite of monitors and controls, from better staging analysis for delta-V and TWR in the construction buildings to the eventually unlockable ability to effectively pilot a ship to orbit entirely by itself from launch.
The catch is that these wonderous abilities aren’t unlocked at the start; you need to unlock them along the way by way of investing Science in the R&D facility. As you grow, MJ takes over more of the mundane tasks and lets you focus on the bits you haven’t done a thousand times.
If you’re looking for something that gives you a bit more control, kOS is waiting for you. Like MJ, kOS is an autopilot control system, but unlike MJ, you must write the control code for anything you want to happen in kerboscript, a language with a suspicious similarity to a number of others used in the early days of flight system design.
If the idea of determining the dot product of multiple vectors to compose the direction to steer the ship is a little bit exciting, this may be an absolute must-have. If it scares you a little, it’s still a must-have because you can do amazing things without getting into the deep math and maybe you’ll accidentally stumble into an astrophysics degree along the way.
Kerbal Engineer Redux
If you think MJ is just a little too much help, but still want the analytics and analysis, there’s Kerbal Engineer Redux. Tons of feedback and delta-V calculations you want to make getting up in the air less harrowing. Slightly. Being able to add entire custom sections to your HUD can have a serious impact on your situational awareness.
KSP Interstellar Extended
Breaking Ground adds a lot of fun, deployable science-tools to the cargo bays but KSP Interstellar Extended (KSPIE) pushes that up to 11 without necessarily going all full-bore Star Trek on things. To start, KSPIE almost doubles the size of the tech tree, expanding your options while adding complicated production chains of materials which are needed to leverage the newest technologies.
If you’re looking for that long-term, extended sense of pushing the boundaries of science all the way from sounding rockets right up to FTL (and who isn’t?), this is an absolute must-have.
Kerbal Attachment System
Not quite something you always need in the toolbox, the Kerbal Attachment System (KAS) adds a certain dynamicism to building things, especially in orbit.
Want to have a Kerbal jump out and lash ships together with spit, baling wire, and rigid struts? Go ahead! Building a refuelling base on a planet and just need a hose to pull fuel out of the fuel miner? It’s right here! While not essential, it’s ridiculously handy.
Docking Port Alignment Indicator
Once you’re up there in the black, there’ll come a time that you want to do the dance of mating. That is, put two docking ports really, really close together having started hundreds of kilometres apart hurtling toward one another at thousands of klicks an hour.
The Docking Port Alignment Indicator (DPAI) is what you’ll need. Rather than roughly eyeballing it based on mounted lights you can use a tool that’ll save you untold suffering.
Environmental Visual Enhancements
The stock visuals from KSP are stunning, especially for a 7 year old game, modders have been tweaking how it looks since day one. While there are a lot of visual mods for the game, Environmental Visual Enhancements (EVE) gets my vote as the one that really kicks things up another notch.
Adding volumetric clouds for the planets, city light clusters for Kerbin, and generally tweaking things just pumps up the immersion. Combine with things like Scatterer and you’ll be eye-popping, but nothing comes without a cost. If you don’t have the graphical grunt to push the polys, you’ll find that the physics simulation suffers.
While the bulk of KSP is dedicated to a focus on rockets and the like, spaceplanes are definitely supported in the core game. They just don’t have a lot of bits and bobs specific to them.
Enter B9 Aerospace, adding entirely new parts for engines, cockpits, fuselages, and all number of mad things. So mad that they’re deliberately interoperable with the Procedural Wings mod, just so you can shape your own in shape and lift. This is serious juju for anyone serious about spaceplanes.
Sometimes it’s just not enough to run your own flight centre, build your own rockets, and drive your own space program. You want to bring your friends over, set up a bunch of computer screens, and have your own mission control display sprawling across multiple web-browsers.
That’s what Telemachus does, brings the whole mission control experience to your living room. Throw in Houston and I guarantee you a party experience no one else has ever provided. Go to space today – with your friends!
Soviet Parts And Rockets
Some people have a straight-up love affair with old school Soviet spacecraft, and why not? Rugged, hard-working, and a real deep part of the actual history of space exploration. You can capture some of that lightning in a bottle with whole collections of models and parts in Soviet Parts and Rockets. Do you need it? Do you want it, just a little, to recreate the first Proton missions? Maybe.
Some people just can’t enjoy a gentle, relaxing (if nail-biting) game about exploration and science without some things that blow up real good intentionally. For them we have BD Armory, a fine selection of Grade-A boom-boom, from MLRS artillery to autocannons, to full-bore turrets. Want to not only explore the fringes of space but orbit-drop tanks to dominate the surface? Here’s your hammer, slammer.
How to install Kerbal Space Program mods
To install Kerbal Space Program mods, you need to locate the game folder, which can be found in these locations by default:
- Windows: C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Kerbal Space Program
- Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/steamapps/common/Kerbal Space Program
Download your mod of choice from the Kerbal Space Program CurseForge game mods hub and extract it from the ZIP file. Then open the GameData folder and find the folder called Squad, then drag the mod folder into here.
Now you know all of the best Kerbal Space Program mods, why not check out some other simulation games to get your teeth stuck into? Alternatively, our list of the best indie games has some other titles you must play.