]> Elite: Dangerous - Getting about 🌐:aligrant.com

Assuming you've done the tutorials and know how to fly your ship, you now have to be able to put that to good use.

Stations and Ports

You land on a docking pad at stations and outposts, stations the docking pads are inside a pressurised section, outposts they are just sat on top. You will get fined, and ultimately destroyed if you attempt to land without docking permission. Do NOT enter a space station's letterbox without docking permission.

All stations operate a no-fire zone, if you fire your weapons, even if you don't hit anything, it'll open fire on you. You will not survive, you will not escape, you will die.

Police scan people on the way in, if you're carrying illicit or illegal cargo (noted on your HUD if you are) then you will get fined or attacked. There are things you can do to avoid this.

Do not drop cargo close to stations, you will be fined for littering.

You have to land on the pad the right way round - the way you come into the letterbox on big stations, but on outposts it's a little trickier. It is indicated on your HUD when you get over it, but that's a bit late. The yellow holographic number is at the back of the pad, you should be facing it with the box around you. Generally the big adjustable thruster pads will be at the rear as you approach.

Whilst docked you are still vulnerable to attack and on outposts police can still scan you. Enter the hanger for safety.

If your ship has suffered a loss of atmosphere you need to be through the blue shield for the counter to stop. This is either on the letterbox of a big station, or entering the hanger on an outpost.


Your Galaxy map is the most useful tool in the game. It shows all the stars in the galaxy, some of which will be inaccessible. Solid lines are drawn between your current location and other systems, connecting then on to other systems, showing the extent of how far you can travel. The computer will work out up to 1000ly from your point, but it will take a while to do this. Clicking on a system and clicking the route icon (looks like a share icon) will plot a route specifically to that system and queue up each hop in your navigation computer.
Dotted lines indicate that whilst your ship can make these jumps, you don't have enough fuel, so you will need to refuel before getting there.

You have the option to switch your nav computer between Efficient and Fastest routes.  Fastest will take the longest-range hops, but use exponentially more fuel.  Efficient routing will take the shortest jumps, preserving the most fuel.  Generally, use the fastest but ensure you have enough fuel to get to your destination or that you have the means to gather fuel en-route.

Mission icons appear over systems that are related to one of your current objectives, these have a globe image. This makes spotting where you need to go for your current task an easy affair.  More icons can be toggled on and off on the final tab.  The colour scheming can be adjusted to highlight systems of different governments, allegiances, economy etc.

The system map is less powerful and gives you a diagram of a system, it is not to scale. It does though list stations, clicking on a station gives you information on the left hand pane (which is tabbed) that is useful for trading information. You can plot routes to stations too, but only in remote systems. If you're already in an existing system then all you can do is select this as your current destination.  For systems with multiple stars, take note how far away the star you're interested in is away from the main (top) star, as there are some truly epic distances with no easy way of getting between them apart from sitting in super-cruise.

Not all system maps are available immediately and you will have to enter the system and explore it for yourself, or purchase exploration through the galaxy map when docked in a neighbouring system.

Hyperspace / Witchspace

Known as a "high-wake jump", jumping from system to system is done via a hyper-space jump, you get teleported to another star-system with some wooshy graphics in-between - the game is essentially loading a new level during this. High-wake jumps take longer to charge the jump drive than low-wake jumps.

Your jump range is limited to the capacity of your Frame Shift Drive, if you cannot make it to the system you want to, you may be able to work around manually and find another route in, or you may have to buy a better Frame Shift Drive.

Your jump drive has a hard-limit on the amount of fuel it can use to achieve a jump. So just because you have a lot of fuel in your tanks, it'll never use the whole lot in one jump.

You cannot engage your Frame Shift Drive whilst it's cooling down or you are mass-locked.  Mass locking is the effect of a large body (planet, space station, big ships) interfering with your field.


Super-cruise (a term taken from the game Freelancer) is a mode of transitioning about a single solar system at great speeds. Moving into super-cruise is known as a low-wake jump, it's quicker to get into than jumping between systems - but can be drastically delayed by large ships in your proximity (does not apply to a high-wake jump).

During super-cruise your ship's top speed will be dependent on the mass of objects around it. If you're close to a star or planet you won't be able to go very fast, but as you move away you will start travelling at multiple times the speed of light. This makes travel between planets relatively quick, instead of the months or years it would take in reality.

You can only interact with ships that are also in super-cruise. You are not aware of ships that are not in super-cruise. Stations obviously attract ships but there is no restriction of where a ship can be in normal space. A "low-wake" navigation marker remains for a short period after a ship drops into normal space, which you (or anybody else) can lock onto and follow. Once it has gone it's unlikely that you'll land up in the same place as any other ships.

You cannot do detailed scans of ships in super-cruise, but you can find out whether they are wanted. You cannot use your weapons in super-cruise with the exception of the interdictor.

Interdiciton is the process of dragging a ship out of super-cruise down to normal space. It is carried out by pirates and authority vessels. It will attract a fine if you attempt to interdict an unwanted ship.

Fighting interdictions can be tricky, it is often best to submit by throttling back and then escaping once you're in normal space.  Failing an interdiction will result in an emergency stop, you will temporarily lose control of your ship and your FSD will take a while to cool down before you can jump again.

Transitioning from Supercruise

You have to "drop out" of Supercruise if you wish to enter "normal" space and interact with other players, or dock at stations. Whilst you can do this at any speed, you will receive damage to your ship and modules if going too fast.

For a clean exit you need to slow to under 1Mm/s and disengage the drive. You will drop out at your current location safely.

To exit at a navigable destination, e.g. a space station, you will need to have locked onto the destination first. On approach you need to manage your speed to avoid overshooting your destination. The trick to this is to pull your throttle back into the slower end of the "blue" zone, your ship will then maintain the correct speed decrease on approach. You can verify that you've throttled back enough by ensuring the time to arrive never drops below 6 seconds.

Two bars will appear on the lower left indicating your speed and distance. Once these both arrive in blue zones you're safe to disengage. The destination lock box also needs to be illuminated (this means, point at your target).

When dealing with untargetable destinations, such as dropping in to a random location of a planetary ring then the same rules for speed apply, you need to be travelling at below 1Mm/s, but as there is no target your ship will not slow you down automatically, you have to manage this yourself.

When approaching major space-stations, keep an eye on the holographic image on the left of your radar, it indicates the orientation of the station to your position.  Try and get it so that you can see the station entrance on the display, which indicates that you're on the entry side of the station and save you having to travel around the station in normal space.


Fuel is an important consideration in the game, if you run out of fuel, you're stuck. You have the option of self-destructing or hoping you can convince a friend to bring Fuel Limpets and transfer some fuel to your ship (good luck with that).

Fuel can be bought from most (but not all) stations and outposts. It can also be scooped with a fuel-scoop, if you have bought one. Scoops work whilst in super-cruise around most (but not all) main-sequence stars. You can switch your Galaxy map to display star-classes and you're interested in any stars in the list above and including M-class. These are all scoopable, anything below is not.

To perform a scoop, gently approach the star in super-cruise at an angle allowing room to pull up and exit if you start getting too close. Your fuel scoop, providing it is fitted, powered and around a suitable star, will start automatically. Keep an eye on the marker showing the perimeter of the star, do not get too close as you could crash into it. The closer you get the more fuel you'll scoop and the hotter your ship will get. Keep your heat to below 70%. You can normally scoop briefly at maximum rate for your scoop but prolonged scooping at maximum will result in overheating and damage.

When travelling between large gaps of empty space, keep an eye on the class of stars that you're passing through as there are often spots of unscoopable stars that need to be avoided.

Two fuel tanks are displayed on your HUD, the "current" load for super-cruise and normal flight, and your reserves, which is used directly for hyper-space jumps.
The current tank draws from your reserves when it empties, so it is possible to unexpectedly run out of fuel.

The longer the distance your hyper-space jump is, the more fuel you use, in orders of magnitude. To save fuel you can plot shorter jumps. This takes longer but is useful to know when running low on fuel and needing to move towards a scoopable star or space station.


Some systems have permits, these are usually obtained by grinding missions for a particular faction before being rewarded one via an ascension mission. This includes Sol, which requires some Federation rank.

Planetary Surface

Since the "Horizons" expansion, the surface of most inert, non-atmospheric bodies can be landed on.  The "Odyssey" expansion will bring access to light-atmospheric bodies.  Planets sometimes have bases on, which come in two major varieties, hubs that you can dock with like a station and interact with the services, and smaller settlements that cannot be docked with, but sometimes feature other things you can nefariously interact with with a SRV.

Before considering landing on a planet take note of the gravity of the planet, high-G (anything over 1G) can be very difficult to bring your ship down on gently without sustaining damage and are very tricky to manoeuvre in.

Landable planets are indicated in your navigation panel by a small ship icon (looks a bit like a space invader), or in the system map by a blue halo.  Landing follows the same approach rules as stations and other navigation targets: ensure that you slow your approach to keep the targetted planet at about 6 seconds away.  Your ship will slow and enter orbit where your HUD will display an artificial horizon display to help you orientate.   You can enter the atmosphere by approaching at an angle that is not too steep or shallow, as indicated by the artificial horizon.  As you approach the atmosphere the game will transition into an orbital glide, which has the same angle of approach restraints, you can use this to ride down to the surface quickly, and it will automatically engage your thrusters and slow you down as you approach the surface.

Whilst in glide your radar may highlight areas of interest that you can glide towards.  You can skip around planets by heading back into orbit and re-entering glide at a shallow angle while you scan for points of interest.

When you have found a spot to land, lower your landing gear and use your thrusters to move slowly around whilst looking for a blue indicator to highlight suitable terrain to touch-down on.  Keep an eye on the HUD for orientation guides and slowly bring your ship to a rest.  Your engines will disengage automatically when secure.  Shields do not protect you from bumping a planet.

Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle

A SRV bay can be fitted to all ships and allows you to take a buggy (SRV) out onto the surface of a planet to drive about and interact with items on the surface.  This can include mining surface deposits, shooting skimmers and turrets, and interacting with data access points.  As well as boosting around and just having fun.  Driving on low-G worlds is tricky as your SRV can easily be launched quite high and come down with a hard crash, it is fitted with a booster that you can fire to control your descent.  On very-low-G worlds, it's technically possible to launch your SRV into orbit, be warned.

Your SRV, like your ship, has limited fuel capacity.  Docking with your ship will not restore your fuel, this can only be done by docking with a station (which it is then done automatically), or by using synthesis to manufacture fuel on the go.  Damage to your SRV will automatically be repaired by your ship once you're safely aboard.