50 Best Kerbal Space Program Mods To Download (All Free)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
It’s easy to mistake Kerbal Space Program for a simple, almost childish game. Partically due to the cartoonish graphics and strange little green characters.
Yet underneath the cute packaging is actually a very impressive space exploration simulator with a deep physics system and challenging gameplay.
KSP is all about discovery and exploration.
Kerbal Space Program rewards perseverance and creativity, and the modding community loves to take part as well. It’s as if all the kids who loved making bottle rockets came together as mod creators in this virtual playground.
In this list you’ll find the freedom refreshing, and along with some of the best mods out there, you won’t want to stop exploring KSP anytime soon.
50. The Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network (CKAN)
Seeing as this is about to be a very long list, you’re going to want to start off with CKAN.
The KSP modding world is still scattered across multiple different sources, and managing each and every mod you have can become overwhelming.
CKAN helps with that, making it as simple as possible.
Modding is more organized, as CKAN makes use of metadata to make sure your files are complete.
It warns you if mods aren’t compatible with each other, and even makes suggestions based on mods you currently have installed.
CKAN is an absolute labor of love from and for the modding community and you’re definitely going to find it useful.
Before we get into the gameplay mods, let’s also take a look a look at a few ways we can improve the game’s graphics.
Visuals is commonly stated as a negative for Kerbal Space Program, while some would argue that it isn’t really the point of the game anyway.
Regardless, if there are graphics improvements out there why not give them a go?
TextureReplacer is where you want to start. It’s basically the base for anything related to textures in the KSP.
It allows you to replace textures with custom ones, and basically gives you control over how things look in the game.
48. Astronomer’s Visual Pack
Astronomer’s Visual Pack is the ultimate mod for improving texture resolutions.
The pack replaces almost all textures and these are available in 2K, 4K, and 8K resolutions.
Images will appear much crisper, and details in every texture will be more visible at higher resolutions.
It’s pretty much like getting a Kerbal Space Program remaster for modern PC users.
Just be mindful, as higher resolutions will take more processor and GPU power, so this may affect performance.
47. Galileo’s Sun Flares
To further enhance graphic detail in KSP, Galileo’s Sun Flares is a great addition.
Why downplay how epic your spacecraft looks once you actually get it out into space, when you’ve worked so hard to get there?
The mod adds three completely new sun flair effects, each available in different color settings.
The change is minor.
But it adds to the cinematics of seeing your ship in the great unknown. The level of detail here is incredible as well, as dust particles can be seen on the flair lenses.
A great way to make space exploration all the more immersive.
46. EnvironmentalVisualEnhancements (eve)
EnvironmentalVisualEnhancements is one of the most popular graphics upgrade mods you can get.
It focuses on a particular graphical element that you might not find lacking at first, but once you’ve had this installed you won’t want to play without it.
What it does is add some clouds and city lights to the game, making views from the atmosphere all the more realistic.
Modder Valerian was still looking for more after maximizing most visual upgrade mods available for KSP.
He noticed how planets would appear too dark when in low orbit, and felt that this wasn’t realistic at all.
What was lacking was the glow that should be visible from the planet’s reflective light.
His answer was to create PlanetShine, which is the actual scientific term for the phenomenon of a dim illumination of a planet from reflected sunlight.
The mod adds realistic ambient lighting effects so that planetshine is more visible, along with its effects on surrounding textures.
Another favorite when it comes to graphical enhancements, Scatterer adds multiple visual enhancements to KSP.
Among the improvements available, the mod is mostly focused on enhancing atmospheric scattering and water shaders.
It’s not easy to put into words how this actually works… but just looking at the demo video. You’ll immediately be able to see the difference.
It adds more realistic and dynamic lighting effects, both to the atmosphere and water to better reflect sunlight and other light sources around the universe.
RealPlume is yet one other graphics mod that focuses on a tiny little detail you probably wouldn’t have thought about.
This improves the plumes of smoke emitted from your rocket’s exhaust.
Not only does it make the smoke look much more realistic right out of the box, plume behavior is improved on as well. Plumes of smoke will expand at lower atmospheric pressures too, as they do in real life.
42. Collision FX
I’d say it’s inevitable in Kerbal Space Program: sometimes your ship just isn’t going to work.
Whether it’s a couple of misplaced fins or a few heavy parts, some ships just won’t launch as intended.
Since you will be seeing some crashes (and trust me, you will see a lot), why not crash in style?
Collision FX is the perfect graphical mod for this, adding visual effects to make ship crashes all the more dramatic.
You’ll now see sparks and dust as your ship grinds through the runway in a glorious burst of flames.
The mod even throws in screech sounds for when your landing gear hits the pavement.
Visual improvements aren’t the only way to make your space exploration more immersive.
Kerbal Space Program didn’t place much emphasis on sounds either, as your Kerbals don’t really have recorded voice dialogue in the game.
Instead they rely on flavor text for communication, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Now Chatterer adds to the experience, by adding in much of the missing sound effects the game should have had.
It includes SSTV transmissions, beeps, and random radio communication between flight and ground control to make everything feel all the more exciting.
It also adds atmospheric sound like wind effects, breathing on EVA, and background noise when inside spacecrafts.
40. Sounds Of Space
You can take KSP’s audio even further by adding the Sounds Of Space mod by ist_meow.
The mod adds actual NASA recordings of audio taken while orbiting planets.
Of course, planets in KSP don’t exactly match what we have in our solar system. So our lovable modder had to improvise and add sounds where they make sense.
Jool for example uses sounds recorded around Jupiter, while Eve uses the sounds of Neptune.
All in all, it’s a still a great way to add that little bit of flavor when you’re exploring the galaxy.
39. Kronal Vessel Viewer
This game is more about the trial and error mostly done in the hangar, where any amount of combinations of ship parts can result in a capable spacecraft.
Finding the perfect build to get to any specific planet is one of the most satisfying experiences.
And the first thing most of us are going to want to do is share our progress with friends.
It can get quite tedious to list out everything you did to get your ship to launch as intended… and that’s where Kronal Vessel Viewer comes in.
It simply allows you to create blueprint-like diagrams of your ship, which can easily be shared with anyone.
It even includes an explode option, which expands the ship into all it’s different parts, making it much easier to see all the exact specifications that made your build a success.
38. Transfer Window Planner
The task of building a ship that actually works in Kerbal Space Program can get be quite daunting with its technicality, science jargon, and depth.
This can easily become a turn-off for newer players as not everyone wants to figure out how rocket science works, very much like the saying goes.
Lucky for us, there are tons of quality of life mods that improve current game mechanics. And sometimes they even introduce new ones, to make certain things easier to get done.
First off we have Transfer Window Planner, a plugin that gives you visual representations of planetary transfer efficiencies before even attempting a launch.
That in itself can be quite difficult to understand. So to put it plainly: Transfer Window Planner allows you to input a desired destination, and it will automatically calculate relevant information to help you plan your mission.
37. Kerbal Alarm Clock
If you’re working with the Transfer Window Planner, you’re going to want to pair it with the Kerbal Alarm Clock mod.
Once you’ve gotten the right parts and planned out your ship’s flight path, well, congratulations!
That’s a feat in itself.
But unfortunately, that’s not even half of the equation yet.
Successfully getting into a planet’s orbit will require you to make timed maneuvers that will propel your ship to where you want it to go.
Kerbal Alarm Clock helps you do that, by giving you notifications for when a maneuver must be initiated for any particular ship.
Another great feature of this mod is it’s direct integration with Transfer Window Planner, so you’ll be able to set alarms with the simple click of a button.
36. Kerbal Engineer Redux
Kerbal Engineer Redux is absolutely an extremely helpful quality of life mod.
Selecting parts for your ship is the first piece of the puzzle, and KER gives you the important information needed to make better decisions.
Delta-v readings are made available per build stage, along with the ideal thrust-to-weight ratio depending on your selected destination.
This reduces the required calculations to simple math, hence the name of the mod.
You’ll be able to make quick adjustments when parts don’t add up right, and with a simple cross-check with the Transfer Window Planner to make sure that all the values line up, you’ll be good to go!
Once you’ve gotten into the orbit of whichever planet you’re crazy enough to visit, don’t go celebrating just yet.
You still have to make sure your ship lands safely.
This is where Trajectories comes in, allowing you to better plan where on the planet your ship will land.
What’s great about this one is that trajectories are calculated in real-time, allowing you to make adjustments as you go.
Another useful tool that will help you nail that landing is SCANsat.
What it does is allows you to leverage SCANsat satellites to perform scans on nearby planets.
This will produce high-definition maps so you can pinpoint safe landing zones and interesting areas that may be studied. You know, for science.
The perfect tool for pre-exploration planning.
33. Docking Port Alignment Indicator
You’re going to have to dock your spacecraft every now and again.
Docking can prove to be a challenge in itself, as getting your vehicle to perfectly align with the dock isn’t as easy as you might think.
The base game’s UI doesn’t help much with this either. You’ll mostly have to make tiny adjustments without any help.
The Docking Port Alignment Indicator makes it much easier, giving you a simple UI that tells you whether your ship is aligned or not.
When it comes to making things easier, there isn’t a mod available that makes things easier than Mechjeb.
It’s one of the oldest mods on this list, but Mechjeb is still considered to be essential by most of the community.
It completely takes away the task of actually piloting your ship, so if you enjoy planning and building but not so much the actual flying part, this is the mod for you.
It’s basically an autopilot mod that controls your ship from takeoff to landing.
All you’ll have to do is create a working ship for it to take over.
31. Hangar Extender Extended
Since you’re going to be spending a lot of your time building ships, let’s take a look at some mods that help make things easier there.
First off, we have Hangar Extender Extended.
As you can guess, Hangar Extender Extended basically allows you to build outside of the allotted Vehicle Assembly Building. Nice!
This is especially good for builders who like to build massive ships, as the base game VAB just won’t fit the bigger builds.
There are still limits when it comes to ship size. But this is pretty much the equivalent of free build for KSP.
30. Modular Rocket Systems
Modular Rocket Systems is another great pack to have for builders, as it provides additional parts in your inventory that allow you to fill in those smaller gaps.
Other than providing you with additional aesthetic options, this mod provides parts in different sizes that aren’t available in vanilla.
This makes it easier to fit parts into spaces that you wouldn’t be able to fill originally, making it much easier to plan out every little aspect of your ship.
29. Procedural Fairings
Each part of the spacecraft plays its own role in making your ship successfully launch.
Fairings are no different and it can become a challenge if the available fairings in your inventory don’t fit the ship you built.
For those unfamiliar, fairings are found towards the upper tip of your ship. They protect it from pressure and heating.
Sounds important, right?
Now what if you’ve made this ship but the fairings just don’t fit?
No need to worry, Procedural Fairings is the answer.
Procedural Fairings adds on to the size and shape of fairings in the base game, allowing you to custom fit fairings to any ship you’d like.
If you’d like to your control even further, TweakScale might be what you need.
Instead of only affecting fairings, TweakScale lets you resize virtually any part you want.
Not only that, once a part is resized, it tells you how much fuel is contained within that part of the ship.
On top of that is one of the most important pieces of the mod – how it affects engines in particular.
When an engine is rescaled to be bigger, it also makes it more powerful, and vice-versa.
This should give you completely control over how you build your ships.
27. Fuel Tanks Plus
There are also tons of mods out there that expand on the current parts inventory offered by the base game, giving you loads of new choices when it comes to building.
First, we have Fuel Tanks Plus – which adds fuel tank options to the build inventory.
Fuel Tanks Plus adds multiple choices for tanks that are 1.5x larger than the biggest tank available in vanilla.
This is perfect for the bigger builds, to make sure your ship doesn’t run out of gas anytime too soon.
The tanks are also available in different styles, so you have aesthetic options to choose from as well.
Textures are based on real-life NASA and ESA rockets, so this mod is pretty boss with realism too.
26. KRE – Kerbal Reusability Expansion
Running a space exploration program isn’t cheap.
Especially in Kerbal Space Program where you’re probably going to crash most of your builds.
KRE, or the Kerbal Reusability Expansion mod takes an interesting approach to address this by providing SpaceX-style parts that let you build reusable rockets.
With these parts you could be saving loads of money by just reusing, reducing, and recycling.
The mod pack includes sets of landing legs, fins, wings, engines, and more that don’t need to be thrown away after use.
25. Kerbal Attachment System (KAS)
The Kerbal Attachment System is considered by most to be an essential mod especially when it comes to EVA.
Connecting vessels can be quite challenging in outer space.
KAS remedies this by introducing some neat mechanics and parts that help with these tasks.
Winches, pulleys, harpoons, and pipes can be leveraged to make everything much simpler.
Need to transfer resources without docking?
No problem, just connect the vessels via a pipe.
24. Kerbal Inventory System (KIS)
Working hand in hand with KAS is the Kerbal Inventory System.
It was actually originally supposed to be included in KAS, but was made separate because of all the new features it adds.
KIS introduces a new gameplay mechanic where you can actually take parts from your inventory and send them off into space.
Whether you forgot to bring an important part of the space station with you, or would like to create a rover on Duna from scratch, KIS can help you do that!
All you have to do is pick the parts and send a Kerbal out to wherever they’re needed.
As you explore the further reaches of space, improving research and unlocking new technologies becomes increasingly important.
It can be costly and time-consuming to complete science contracts. And if you’d like to focus more on exploration, KerBalloons can make it much easier to accomplish these tasks.
Instead of having to build costly ships to run science missions, you can instead send balloons specifically designed for scientific data gathering.
This mod adds the various parts needed to create the balloons, which you’ll then be able to space to gather your research data for you.
22. Kerbal Planetary Base Systems
Over time you’ll need to build more planetary bases for your Kerbals as well.
Kerbal Planetary Base Systems is a parts pack that adds tons of items for building habitats, greenhouses, laboratories, and more on different planets.
The vanilla game includes a lot of options for building space stations. But there’s not much variety when it comes to building on flat planetary surface parts.
Another great feature is that parts included are stock-alike, which means they will be compatible with most stock parts in the game.
21. Airplane Plus
A large chunk of the Kerbal Space Program community has found interesting ways to have fun with the building aspect of the game.
Instead of focusing on exploration, they’ve found innovative ways to build replicas of pretty much any vehicle you can think of.
Given the options in the base game along with a few mods than add a variety of parts as well as expand on the building capabilities, users have come up with some of the most exciting content out there.
Starting off with Airplane Plus, a mod that actually adds airplane parts to your build inventory.
If building planes and choppers is something that interests you, this mod is a good place to start.
20. Mark IV Spaceplane System
Another popular model for building spacecrafts is the Mark IV design from the 60’s.
The mod adds a new fuselage that is also based on parts made by Porkjet, who is probably the most popular name when it comes to KSP modding.
The fuselage can easily fit 2.5-3.75m parts in its cargo bay, and are stock-alike as well.
19. The Maritime Pack
The creativity in KSP builds is just limitless. You can even build naval units within the game!
The Maritime Pack adds parts that let you build anything from large ships to submarines and everything inbetween.
You can build yachts for your Kerbals to cruise around in, or even aircraft carriers to house your airplanes.
This mod even maximizes the physics systems in KSP, as you’ll be building around buoyancy too.
It seems that by now withal these crazy mods, we can get pretty far off from Kerbal Space Program was intended to be.
While we’re creating planes and boats and whatnot, why not push a little further?
BDArmory actually allows you to add weapon parts to your vehicles, making it possible to recreate military vehicles like tanks and battleships.
Now that’s what I’m talkin about!
17. Millennium Falcon
And since we’ve basically transformed Kerbal Space Program into a general building simulator, what’s common between pretty much all building simulators out there?
Well, we’re going to want to share our hard work online.
The Steam Workshop for KSP has become the go-to hub for these, housing mostly original creations and replicas of popular ships and vehicles.
That brings us to our next mod here: a completely working replica of the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars series.
Really, need I say more?
16. SR-71 Replica
One more popular replica is that of the SR-71 Blackbird.
Another iconic design from the 60’s, the Lockheed Blackbird was a reconnaissance aircraft that was piloted by both the United States Air Force as well as NASA.
The replica is 100% working as well, and is capable of flying at over 1200m/s.
15. Pz Kpfw VI Tiger I
So we’ve taken a look at a spacecraft from one of the most popular film series of our time, and for me that still wasn’t enough.
Apparently, KSP can be used to build tanks as well.
What we have here is a replica of the Tiger I tank that was used by the German forces in WWII.
What you do with it is up to you really, I just thought it was a pretty cool concept having a tank in KSP.
14. McLaren 720S Spider
What else could there possibly be to build in KSP, you might ask?
Well how about we give your Kerbals a shiny new sports car for them to race around the tarmac in?
Yes, you can have a replica of a McLaren 720S Spider in KSP!
The model even comes with working butterfly doors and a completely convertible top for a completely accurate experience of a car you’ll probably never be able to buy in real life.
13. Fachwerkhaus Style 1
Modder Juggernoob takes things a step further by building houses for his Kerbals.
There are currently three styles with varying sizes, all based on German half-timbered designs.
You’ll be able to house 4-5 Kerbals in the smallest house, and up to 9 in the bigger one.
The houses use solar power and battery banks to run, and will be completely self-sufficient on Kerbin.
Be careful about using them on other planets, though, as this hasn’t been tested across the board.
12. Free IVA
You’re probably thinking that there must be an end to what can be done with KSP.
Well we’re not quite there yet…
Let’s take a step back though, and try to get back to the original space simulator theme.
Free IVA is an interesting mod that might actually make the game even more immersive than improved graphics and sounds.
It allows you to get up from your seat during IVA and actually explore the ship in first-person perspective.
If that doesn’t make you feel like an astronaut, I’m not sure what will.
11. Telemachus Reborn
Telemachus Reborn is one of the more interesting entries on this list, and it’s perfect for when you want to experience KSP with some friends.
It actually allows you to pull up different flight information like telemetry using web browsers.
Now why would you want that?
Well, if you have a couple of friends over, each bringing a laptop or extra monitor, then you could have your very own mission control setup in your living room.
10. TAC Life Support
TAC Life Support actually introduces a new system where Kerbals require food, water, oxygen, and electricity to survive in space.
Leaving your Kerbals unattended during long-running exploration missions is not an option. They’ll die from starvation!
This mod introduces a whole new challenge to overcome, and adds a sense of realism to the game as well.
9. Community Tech Tree
If you’ve reached this point on the list and have tried most of what we’ve covered so far, then you’ve probably encountered some compatibility issues along the way.
That’s fine, as that’s just a normal part of dealing with so many mods.
Another great part about having a passionate modding fanbase is having access to community-approved content.
The Community Tech Tree is a great example, as modders came together to create a modified tech tree with mod compatibility in mind.
It takes most popular mods into consideration and makes sure that the tech tree in KSP accommodates most of what you’re going to install.
8. The Dunatian
Other than improved gameplay, I was actually able to find this one custom scenario mod for KSP.
KSP was never really about a particular storyline, being more focused on free exploration and your ability to pretty much do whatever you want.
That probably explains the lack of custom scenario mods for the game. But luckily modder Mikki created one such story mod, for those looking to experience the game with a bit more… direction.
The story follows a Kerbal named Bob who was left on Duna after an unsuspected glitch sends his team back to Kermes. Your mission is simple – bring Bob back.
The modder made this scenario with more experienced players in mind, so it may not be easy to work with for newer fans of the game.
7. USI Kolonization Systems (MKS)
Interplanetary colonization isn’t a huge part of KSP either, and modder RoverDude sought to remedy that with USI Kolonization Systems.
MKS is an expansive gameplay mod that makes interplanetary colonization possible in KSP.
Aimed at adding much more end-game content, you’ll find yourself doing things beyond exploring planets for the sake of it.
Instead you’ll be tasked with finding suitable planets to continue life after Earth.
The list is huge when it comes to this mod, but features include new parts for base building, an expanded traits system, and a new rewards system for colonizing planets and moons.
6. Dang It! Continued
Believe it or not, there are some KSP veterans who still seek to increase the level of difficulty of the game.
No, that’s the name of the mod! It’s the result of adding randomized systems and equipment failures to the game.
Everything is customizable, of course, from how often to how serious the failures are.
You can be dealing with anything from a broken thruster to a faulty parachute system, while reliability of parts decays through use as well.
Ramp up that difficulty a few notches, that’ll keep you busy for a while.
Here’s another interesting way to expand on the game’s contents is by literally expanding the discoverable universe.
If you play Kerbal Space Program enough, and have the resilience to get through it all, you’re bound to run out of achievements to complete and planets to visit.
Kopernicus is the base system used by modders to replace the planetary system in-game, giving you completely new galaxies to explore.
4. Galaxies Unbound: Nova Kirbani
Galaxies Unbound is one of those expansions.
Based on Alpha Centauri (the closest known star and planet system to Earth’s Solar System) Galaxies Unbound’s first installment introduces Nova Kirbani.
The closest system to Kerbol includes 3 stars: Nova Kirbani A, B, and Proksimus Kirbani which is much farther away.
Nova Kirbani is currently available to play, introducing the planets Alva, Blalo, and Orus.
3. Dwarf Planets Plus
Dwarf Planets Plus from modder uranianblue is another great mod for a change of scenery.
He felt that other planet packs already available was lacking a realistic number of dwarf planets in the galaxy.
As a result, he created Dwarf Planets Plus which adds 5 dwarf planets – Cador, Talus, Walru, Virani, and Zevrin.
Furthering his aim at deeper realism, all dwarf planets are based on real life dwarf planet types including Asteroid Belt objects, Centaurs, and Kuiper Belt Objects.
2. Kerbal Exoplanets
This is definitely one of the more expansive planet packs for Kerbal Space Program.
Kerbal Exoplanets actually adds three completely new star systems to the game.
What makes it even more impressive is that each star system contains unique exoplanets, each with their own moons surrounding their orbits.
1. Civilian Population
Clocking in with our final pick, we have the Civilian Population mod.
It truly takes space colonization to a whole new level.
Civilian Population starts you off on the road to making your Kerbal society a type-1 civilization.
It enables a new gameplay mechanic allowing civilians to participate in space exploration, all while you advance and discover newer technologies.
You’ll be able to utilize more advanced technologies like Netherdyne reactors, build a Netherdyne University, and even build houses and farms for your Kerbals.
This one’s a real game-changer so definitely give it a try!
Although I have a feeling there’s plenty in this list to keep you busy for months on end.