The initial objective for the Kerbal Space Center is determining the feasibility of launching a Kerbal into space, and returning him or her safely to Kerbin, regardless of how many attempts it takes. Concurrently, the KSC will also work on additional objectives, such as scientific studies during all phases of flight, additional flight goals such as orbiting Kerbin, alternative and advanced engine designs, and scheduled disassembly. It is not expected that advancements in all of these areas will progress evenly.
The basic Mark program launch will consist of some sort of capsule to protect the Kerbal and the flight controls, an engine to propel it through the air and eventually space, a recovery system to provide as survivable a landing as reasonable, and any additional systems to enable communication or provide stability.
Additional secondary objectives include testing long duration flight, on-orbit power generation, advanced communication, additional science objectives, and spacecraft automation. Tertiary objectives will be determined by the success or failure of the primary and secondary objectives.