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How to launch a rocket in Kerbal Space Program 2

Never mind the physics, just get me to the explosions

A crude diagram representing a multi-stage rocket and orbiter in Kerbal Space Program 2.
Launching a rocket isn’t an exact science...except when it is
Image: Private Division / Intercept Games via Polygon
Alice Jovanée (she/her) is a commerce writer, and she has been writing about gaming and tech since 2005. Prior to Polygon, she worked at publications such as The Verge.

The real world may frown on large explosions, but in Kerbal Space Program 2, they are just another step on the path to enlightenment. If you’re ready to start launching rockets, here’s the fastest way to the launchpad in Kerbal Space Program 2.

First, you’ll start a new game by providing a file name and naming your space agency, as well as the important task of picking the colors and emblem of your newly founded organization. You don’t have to dwell too hard on this though, as this can be changed after starting your game.

Next, you’ll be brought to the revamped Kerbal Space Center, complete with a pair of runways and a whopping four launchpads. You’ll also see the Vehicle Assembly Building (or VAB). The VAB allows you to construct your own rockets and spaceplanes, but for the fastest possible time to orbit, we’ll want to head straight to the launchpad.

How to launch a rocket in Kerbal Space Program 2

  1. Selecting “Launchpad” from the menu on the left, choose one of the four available launchpads. You’ll then be prompted to select a vehicle, which will open up one of the pre-made rocket assemblies in the game’s files.
  2. For our purposes, we’ve picked the Kerbal K2, a three-stage orbiter that’s more than capable of sending a couple of Kerbals into low orbit.
  3. Once you’ve selected the vehicle, hit “Launch” and you’ll be taken to the launchpad.
  4. While launching a rocket in the original Kerbal Space Program required you to know what button to press, KSP2 is far less coy, providing you with a big green button to smash to send your unwitting astronauts hurtling into the stars. Pressing the launch button will commence a super-dramatic countdown, but you can press the launch button again to skip it.

After that, your first-stage boosters will ignite, and you’ll be hauling the mail.

A screenshot showing a rocket seconds after launch in Kerbal Space Program 2
for_all_mankind_theme.mp3 intensifies
Image: Private Division/Intercept Games via Polygon

If you’re looking for more ways to assemble (or disassemble) your own rocket, make sure to check out our guide on deleting parts in the VAB in Kerbal Space Program 2.

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