Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Tips for beginners: Launching from stations

elite_noobOkay, so I am assuming you have done the basic tutorial missions. You haven’t? Well, do them! No arguments. They teach you the basic basics. What’s the difference between this and those? The same difference between driving lessons and road experience. One gets you a licence, the other keeps you alive afterwards.

When you leave the station you need to be aware of other traffic, station security and leaving the access corridor on the correct side.


Don’t fire your weapons – the station auto-guns will ventilate your hide in seconds. That polite announcer is actually a psycho killer. Don’t give them any excuse.

Don’t speed – if your gear is down, speed is limited – but if gear is up and your speed over 100m/s, any collision will result in a fine. Any serious collision will result in your summary execution.

Don’t loiter around the pad, or inside the station. The timer that ticks from when you undock is how long you have before the station kills you. No polite warnings. When the time is up, you’re toast!


The radar is your friend. It’s 3D. No really. Since 1984 no less. The triangle in the middle is you. The oval is an area around you. The triangle forward is representative of your forward view – what you can see out the cockpit window. Learn to read the radar. It’s important.

Elite: Dangerous radar

Thanks to Rolf Thomassen for pointing out the block shape indicates hard-point deployment.

When you fly out of the station access corridor (letter box) you don’t want to collide with the fast-moving lunatic in a super-massive Type 9 that will grind your Sidewinder to paste, so use the radar to look for ships in front of you heading toward you. Also, check behind. As you rise from the landing pad, there could be an Anaconda doing the same thing on the pad behind, whose pilot is reading GalNet and not looking where they are going!


The coast is clear and you want to leave. But were you parked on the ceiling, or the floor, or the wall? No gravity means “yes” to all those answers. That presents a dilemma. If the floor is the wall, the wall is the ceiling, then which way up is the door? Well those clever bods in the Pilot’s Federation thought of this. Well, actually they borrowed the idea from sailors.

When entering or exiting the station, keep right. That’s all. How do I know which side is “right”? There is a green light on that side and a red flashing light on the other. Red bad, green good. Got it? Cool. Chances of a head-on collision just went down a lot.

Elite: Dangerous station exit

Once you are outside, get clear of the station entrance. You need to be 5km away before the mass of the station stops locking your FrameShift drive from being able to jump. After that you are away!

Quick question

Q: The phone rings/baby cries/godzilla is coming and I need to quit the game in a hurry without leaving the station after I've taken off. What happens to my ship?

A: From the moment your ship leaves the pad, if you quit the game, then when you log back on, your ship will spawn, unharmed, 10km away from the station in space. You can either re-dock, or fly elsewhere.

Ship Size Comparison with real-world objects for scale

freighter_concept_thumbSince the weekend I have had the chance to add a better graphic of the Imperial Majestic Class Interdictor.

I have also had the time to lay out the ships by their category of combat, freighter, passenger or multi-purpose.

On request I have included the Scarab SRV (which is a measly 4.7m). Also on the revised diagram is a Boeing 777, because it's something large that most people have seen. The "Oasis of the Seas" which at 362m long is the world's largest cruise ship and carries 6,296 passengers, is probably the largest thing anyone may have seen and shows just how massive the larger Elite ships really are.

Place holders for the coming Elite: Dangerous ships; the Dolphin, the Beluga Liner and the Panther LX have been added with estimated sizes.

I have added the pad sizes and colour-coded ship names by pad size. There is also a scale representation of the station access corridor.

UPDATE: I've re-drawn the whole thing from scratch as vectors, so no bitmaps at all! This means I can re-draw at any resolution, so see the 4K edition of the chart below.

ship size comparison

Click HERE for full size 4096x2896 (4K) image.

ship size comparison

Click HERE for full size 2560x1440 image.

Elite ship sizes to scale for all ships post Horizons launch

conda_blueprintWith the release of the 1.5 Ships update, Elite has had an additional five ships added to the game and the previous scale diagram I'd done was was both outdated and missing several keys ships - so especially for you, I have re-drawn the whole thing using all new graphics and the most up-to-date size information.

The diagram uses a scale of 1 pixel to 1 metre.

Credit goes to Mat Ricardo (Prefim on Reddit) for creating the ship renders.

UPDATE: Now with more capital ship goodness! Thanks to ElitePvE group Mobius for helping me hunt down the Imperial Capital Ship.

Ship sizes to scale

The ship sizes are taken from here

Ship sizes table

Very large trading ships in Elite Dangerous

panther_dockingSource? Newsletter #92

Multi-Crew lets you fly in the same ship with friends, which will up the intensity and camaraderie levels of a joint mission even further! You’ll be able to share and alternate control of weapons systems, turrets and flight duties to multiply your effectiveness. Even to the extent of piloting a ship-launched fighter and working in combination with the mothership. It’ll be especially useful in some of the very large trading ships coming in season two.

Now the original Elite, way back in 1984 didn’t have any really big trade ships – the Anaconda was the largest, with the smaller Boa and Python in the mix, but there were some super-massive traders in Frontier and Frontier First Encounters. What were they?

Well, between Elite 1 and 3 the roles of these ships juggled somewhat. In Elite the Boa was smaller than the Anaconda, but by Frontier First Encounters (Elite 3) the Boa was the bigger ship.

The Panther Clipper; described as a “behemoth” in Elite 2 wasn’t the biggest in Elite 3 – that was the Lynx Bulk Carrier. How big was that? Well the Panther had a 2100T cargo capacity compare to the Lynx’s eye-watering 6000T cargo hold. A monster!

So what will the “very large trading ships” coming to Elite: Dangerous be?

We have been teased 3D renders of the Panther Clipper (called Panther LX in this incarnation) very early on during the Elite: Dangerous KickStarter, but it has been radio silence since.

Currently the biggest trade ship in ED is the Imperial Cutter which can carry (with shields) 728T of cargo. That’s only 35% of the original Panther’s capacity. Could it fit on the pad and carry that much cargo in ED? Well, no.

Panther LX

Based on the maximum dimensions of all ships, the Panther LX could be up to 192.6m L x 115.3m W x 33.4 m H and fit through the access corridor and land on a large pad. That is around 4% larger overall volume than the Imperial Cutter and would (at a 4% increase) give the Panther a 1540T hull. That would give an approximate cargo capacity of between 670 to 1104T – estimating a make-up of three Class 8, one Class 7, two Class 6, two Class 5 and one Class 4 internals. Huge.

Something we’ve not seen, even hinted at, is the return of the Boa. If based on Elite 3 this would be double the size of the Anaconda (in capacity) so would carry 936T of cargo (3 x C8, 1 x C7, 1 x C5, 1 x C3) not to be sniffed at! Based purely on volume, it could be smaller than the Corvette, say 160x114x32m and be twice an Anaconda’s capacity.

ship dimensions

Frontier could also pull something out of the bag we have not seen before. But we'll know soon, because they are coming this year to a game near you.

Avatars, crowded cockpits and zero-g cats

buggyThe third and fourth quarter of the year are set to bring us the most anticipated features of Horizons and some mystery as well.


2.3 – The Commanders - Coming Fall 2016

“Team up and stand together. Forge your own identity with the new Commander Creator, then share your bridge with Multi-Crew and fly with friends.”

We’ll be able to fly with up to three other human commanders aboard our ship, operating different stations – weapons, navigation, the pilot’s controls and ... what else? It has been said that a single ship with multiple crew-members would be “as formidable” as the same number of ships in a wing. How that could manifest will be interesting to see.
This update will bring us the commander editor, allowing us to make our own avatars with beards and big noses and with multi-crew, we’ll be able to show them off to our wing-mates.

I pause to wonder if features are gender locked; could I have a bearded lady avatar? Give me something to “hang on to” as Lord Flashheart would say. Lipstick and eyeshadow for the gents? Oh, eighties glam in the 34th century!

At this point we cannot even guess how things like ship rebuy, or trade profits are handled when playing with multiple commanders on a single ship. How will the “guest” commanders get on board? Will we see them dock and walk into the cockpit, or will they just “pop” into existence? What do they see when boarding?

2.4 – ????

“A secret to be revealed in Elite Dangerous: Horizons’ final expansion!”

So, no idea on what the end-of-year update will bring. Sandro shirts for your Avatars? A bobble-head of your own ship? Tractor beams? Weather on planets? A ships cat? Zero-G cat litter. Maybe not.

What would I like to see? Ship-to-ship docking; not boarding at this point, just docking. Why? Mega-ships, too large for stations could be docked with, to exchange cargo/passengers. This would make the “seeking goods” ships more hands on. We could take guests to that wedding we keep hearing about. Explorers could dock with mega ships that are “mobile outposts”.

I guess we'll have to wait until November to find out!


Guardians of the galaxy

buggyThe second announced expansion to Elite: Dangerous in Horizons is titled “Guardians”.

2.2 – Guardians - Coming Summer 2016

“Take what comes and strike back with double. Bring a second ship to every combat encounter with Ship-Launched Fighters and defend your passengers against the deadliest threats in the galaxy.”

Picking the text apart for the language used, reveals more detail.
What is said is “a second ship”.


Not ship-launcher fighter(s) plural, but instead a single deployable fighter or drone, depending on if you or the A.I. are flying it.

So my hopes for a “Type-9 Galactica” with half-a-dozen hangar bays are dashed! And I had a "launch fighters" voice-attack command all ready to go!

Have the fighters been limited to one-per-commander due to constraints of A.I.? The Mistress of Minions would probably disagree that her children of chaos are in ANY way limited, so I suspect that the limitation is to prevent richer commanders becoming one-man-armies of unstoppable A.I. fleets.

On the one hand, having three or four deployable Condors would not make me unbeatable, but having been on the wrong end of a Python with two Eagles attacking my rear, I can appreciate why it might be overkill. Still, a Wing of four pilots with deployable fighters becomes a Wing of eight. Ouch.

Something else mentioned, is the phrase “defend your passengers”. A similar wording slipped out of Ed during the recent live-stream from PAX and was thought to be the result of jet-lag, but the clear mention of passengers here would imply we are going to get the long-awaited passenger missions. This opens up more career paths to players and makes the likelihood of the Dolphin passenger vessel and the Beluga Liner making an appearance in Elite at long last a distinct possibility. No more sad little Orca. Friends at last! And hopefully a career path that warrants a 44M credit price-tag.


Horizons speculation alert!

buggyOn Friday Frontier, for the first time it should be noted, laid out a general plan for most of the coming season of expansions to Elite: Dangerous Horizons. Giving us an outline for what content was coming and when. So what are we getting? Well the first instalment is soon, probably next month, and is titled “The Engineers”

2.1 – The Engineers - Coming Spring 2016

"Everything changes. Introducing an expanded mission system and game-changing loot. Craft exotic weapons and modules for your spacecraft and build a ship unlike any other."

It is confirmed that we’ll have around 30 persistent NPC characters to interact with. These characters will process loot into crafted weapons and modules for you from blueprints. The toys on offer will depend on your pilot and federation, or empire, rank. Using the character creator, Frontier will give these engineers a face to see.


We can speculate that these characters, called Engineers, will abide on the surface of planets at certain locations, which makes them by default, a Horizons-specific feature. Since they require loot to work, you will have to bring them materials(?) to work with in order to make your green beam laser (or more useful), a longer range FSD drive. They also require blueprints. How will these be acquired? Stolen? Found? Clearly a new avenue to explore. You can’t just grind 30T of hand-wavium and have the best ship in the galaxy; you are going to have to find, steal, trade or buy the means to make these upgrades.

Over the last year Frontier had expanded the bulletin-board missions, but as they’ve done so, the basic framework has started to creak under the load. In 2.1 we’re getting a total replacement of the mission system, incorporating these talking head NPC characters which will also be persistent, depending on your pilot rank, faction rank and possibly location. I would love to speculate that these characters will speak (audio? Text to speech?), but in all likelihood they will simply be the face of your mission-brief text, much the same as the characters were in Elite Frontier (shown above). The good news for players without the Horizons expansion is that this element of the game is generic to all, so it is highly likely that the new NPCs will be seen by players of the core game as well as Horizons players.

The new "mission givers" might look something like this:-

mission_face Continued..