Kerbal Space Program players will receive a free update that will include parts to build Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket. The “Shared Horizons” update will also include the chance to tackle real ESA missions.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced its partnership with Kerbal Space Program developer Squad on May 18. According to an ESA press release, the “Shared Horizons” update will allow players to build and launch European rockets and explore our celestial neighborhood.
“Kerbal Space Program has already been an inspiration for an entire generation of future engineers and scientists, so introducing this level of realism will really take it to the next level,” added Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA’s Director of Space Transportation. “I really look forward to seeing the innovative ways in which players will approach designing their new space transportation services.”
The update will include the stages, engines, and systems of the Ariane 5 rocket. Players can select to create a faithful replica of Europe’s most powerful rocket, a variant of the rocket, or a Frankenstein amalgamation of multiple launch vehicles.
Once a player has constructed a rocket, they will also have the ability to conduct two of Europe’s most iconic missions: the BepiColombo Mercury explorer and the Rosetta comet chaser.
As Kerbal is set in an alternate reality, the BepiColombo mission will attempt to reach orbit and land on Moho, the game’s nearest equivalent to Mercury. Once on the surface of the planet, players will be able to perform “various scientific tasks from the actual ESA/ JAXA mission.”
The press release did not detail what form the Rosetta mission would take.
Launched in 2004, Rosetta explored our solar system for 10 years before arriving at its destination, a “Jupiter-family comet.” Once there, it dropped the Philae lander and continued to study the comet from orbit for two years.
The “Shared Horizons” update is expected to be launched on PC on 1 July. Its release on consoles is expected later this year.