So - the Kerbal Space Program - possibly the greatest computer game to ever reside on my disk storage.
Its all about science! Science is the KSP unit of development, the more you generate/collect, the better the rocketry parts you can use is.
As you start with very limited parts, a good way to begin is out on the rocket pad, without launching a thing.
Science can be collected from 'biomes' - simply put different zones of the universe. Conveniently, the rocket pad is one biome, the surrounding area is another,standing on the steps of the starter rocket capsule counts as a third ('flying' over the rocket pad), not to mention the runway the surrounding ocean shores and the water itself, so that's six areas to research straight away, giving you a starting boost to your planetary excursions!
The home planet where we start is call Kerbin, and each Astronaut (or Kerbonaut) has a name and their own individual personality. Jebediah Kerman (see above) is principle test pilot, and exibits extraordinary levels of braveness in the face of certain defeat (well he really is that stupid).
So, after dipping our feet in the water:
we are ready to spend our hard earnt science. This involves filling out a tree like structure. Its best to focus initially on items which generate more science, like the science module, which is just within reach on the bottom branch of the tree:
So, with all this science, lets head for the stars! Now you could begin with a simple little solid rocket booster, but who wants to start out small? We don't have a stability launch platform yet, so insteasd we use a little trick from Scott Manley, and stick the boosters on small pilons on a detachable coller:
Before you know it, we have our first Kerbonaut drifting across the heavens.
No time to rest on our laurels though, Jebediah gets out and inspects the science module, all seems to be functioning as designed. We're using a double science module design, which allows us to grab more science from the biome where we happen to land, post-mission.
Rentry generates all sorts of fireworks. (Unfortunately) at the current version of KSP, they are just a light show. I have not investigated plugins to KSP yet - one is 'Deadly Reentry' which monitors the spaceship's temperature, and makes it explode if you're coming in too steep an angle. One to investigate in the near future I think - the additional challenge is needed.
... and there we have it, my first mission to space. A complete success, with a great deal of science learned, with which I researched temperature probes for yet more science. Coming to a blog post soon.