Kerbal Space Program Update Coming

The next update for SQUAD's space program, titled First Contract, will further expand the career mode with a mission system that ties into new Funds and Reputation systems.

Career Mode is greatly expanded now by the addition of Funds and Reputation. Funds are required to launch vessels, and reputation is earned (and lost) by doing contracts (or failing them). In this release, your reputation is already used to regulate the level and amount of contracts offered you. Lower reputation means fewer and less prestigious contract offers, while high reputation means more and more ambitious proposals.
— Felipe Falanghe, SQUAD

The contracts themselves will be available via the Mission Control Facility, and will offer additional Science which further boosts Career players up the tech tree.

In addition, First Contract will introduce vessel recovery, which will let players reclaim some of the cost of parts; a new mod-friendly UI toolbar that enables easy switching between the messages, resources, currencies and contract panels; and a new tech-tree layout.

Here is a full list of what you can expect:

Contracts:
You probably know about this one already. The Mission Control Facility at the space center now lets you take on contracts to earn Funds, Science and Reputation. 

Budget Essentials:
Career Mode is greatly expanded now by the addition of Funds and Reputation. Funds are required to launch vessels, and reputation is earned (and lost) by doing contracts (or failing them). In this release, your reputation is already used to regulate the level and amount of contracts offered you. Lower reputation means fewer and less prestigious contract offers, while high reputation means more and more ambitious proposals.

Vessel Recovery:
Vessel recovery is also making its first appearance. Although still not complete, the new recovery system now lets you reclaim some of the cost of all landed parts, and any resources they still contain. The Science Summary Dialog of previous versions has been overhauled to also include information about recovered parts and crew.

New UI Toolbar:
User interfaces in the game have been vastly overhauled, but the largest addition is the new app toolbar, which can be seen in most scenes now, and holds buttons to flip between the messages, resources, currencies and contract panels. Also, it’s mod-friendly.

New MonoPropellant-Powered Engine and LFO-Powered RCS Thrusters:
The O-10 MonoPropellant Engine is a standard engine linked to main throttle controls, but powered by MonoProp. The Vernier Engine, conversely, is a Liquid Fuel+Oxidizer powered RCS unit. These should be interesting new additions to the stock parts set.

Revised Tech Tree Layout:
To better fit the new engines above, we’ve updated the tech tree, giving the ‘flight control’ type nodes a much more logical progression, and added new paths to expand your way through the tree more freely.

Repurposed Engine Nacelle parts:
Those grey, largely useless engine body sections are now given new purpose as combination air intake + fuel tank units, making them a lot more useful for building spaceplanes. 

No word on an official release date, but expect it to land (get it?) soon.