Creating a Newtonian physics space-race title was never going to be an easy task, but Squad clearly nailed it as despite the game being far from a final release, Kerbal Space Program is incredibly popular and that seems likely to be a trend that continues going forward, as now it's released update 0.24, which as well as adding a bunch of new tutorials to make the learning curve a little shallower, has implemented contracts and budget concerns in career mode too.
To help commemorate the launch, Squad also released a short animation of old Jebediah Kerman in his junkyard:
Some of the new features include:
- Manage funds, reputation right alongside science to further your space faring goals
- Randomly generated contracts now give you set missions alongside your own plans
- Recover vessels that land safely back on Kerbin
- Universal clock and pause menu added to the space center
- 64bit support added for extra memory allocation
- New engine parts added to make manoeuvring heavier ships easier
That's all the main features, but it doesn't even touch on the huge number of changes Squad has made for this update. For a full changelog, have a look at the official forum post here.