- Protractor Rendezvous Plugin - provides you with information to help time launches to intercept other planets.
- Graphtron 2000 - Sensor parts which provide information are plotted on a graph when this part is added.
- MechJeb - A kind of autopilot, but I primarily use it to ascend nicely and fiddle with orbits, which gets a little tedious sometimes.
- ISA MapSat - Mapping part to chart planetary bodies as you orbit them.
First mission, at the selecting from "famous explorers" suggested by #molotov, the Thorfinn I Satellite, named after Thorfinn Karlsefni, Icelandic explorer who explored and attempted to settle Vinland (probably North America).
Launch with solid rocket boosters firing.
Heading into the sky.
Boosters jettisoned, gravity turn in progress.
A lovely circular orbit at about 100 km, over the equator.
Four aerials deployed, liquid rocket stage decoupled.
In the last image viewing the rear of the satellite, we can see its ion engine. It has, thanks to a small tank of xenon gas and its four solar panels, fuel sufficient to go exploring further, if very slowly. We might send it somewhere further out soon ish.