Spaceships are powerful vehicles that can launch any contained structures, items, and players into space, then fly around the solar system to land on other surfaces. A well designed spaceship can even fly the huge distances between stars and other deep space points of interest.
Spaceships are an advanced form of interplanetary logistics, and can transport many items between surfaces more cheaply than other logistic solutions, the material and technology cost required to build spaceships is much higher.
Your first spaceships will be quite small, but the maximum size can be increased by technology. Additionally, you can research more powerful engines to increase your spaceship's speed.
For advice on spaceship design choices see the guide to spaceships.
Spaceship Parts & Construction
The main components needed to build a spaceship are:
- Spaceship floor, to provide a surface to build on
- Spaceship walls&doors, to enclose your spaceship
- Spaceship console, to control the spaceship
- Engines to enable the spaceship to move during flight
- Booster tanks to allow spaceship to lift off from ground surfaces and space surfaces into spaceship flight mode
- Spaceship clamps which can allow ships to automatically dock at a certain location.
Start with a floorplan of spaceship flooring. Don't build too big, as your first few spaceships will have strict size restrictions, expandable by research. Place spaceship walls around the edges to make bulkheads, and make sure there are no gaps (including diagonals). Place a spaceship console somewhere in the inside, this is the core part of the spaceship and how you control it. When the console is placed, there are some pulses as the console figures out what parts are properly attached, what parts are properly contained and what will fall off if you try to launch. If any squares flash red, then there is an issue with your design, which you can diagnose by checking the spaceship console. You also need a spaceship rocket booster tank, and a spaceship rocket engine. The booster tank is what stores the fuel you need to lift off from a surface and can share fuel with your engines. The main engines are for the journey through space to get you to your destination.
While in flight mode, spaceship will always fly northbound and be bombarded by asteroids that will traverse from North to south. These asteroids also have 3% deviation so they can attack at slight angle. Asteroid intensity is increased by (blank)% near asteroid belt and (blank)% near asteroid field:
- Small asteroids 6 000hp : will damage walls
- Medium asteroids 60 000hp : will destroy walls.
- Large asteroids: 600 000hp : will only spawn when ship is larger than 1000 Spaceship Structural Integrity and will destroy few sections of walls, including spaceship floor. It will also do splash damage.
- Laser : 0%
- Explosion : 10%
- Physical : 20%
- Electric : 50%
- Fire : 90%
- Poison: 100%
To prevent damage to ship defenses can be used:
- Gun turret. basic form of defense that does not require power but requires steady supply of ammunition. gun turret receive 15x damage bonus to asteroids.
- Laser turret. power hungry defense but doesnt require supply. Laser turret receives 120x damage bonus to asteroids as well has have +10 activation range (they will activate before asteroid arrives at their attack range)
- Shield Projector. extremely power hungry defense that protects small area in front of it.
This area of space is in a gritty nebula. If you streamline your spaceship you can improve you spaceship's maximum speed by around 30%. Making a flat box front should be avoided, but don't need to build a wedge. Up to 1/3 of your spaceship's front can be flat with no penalty. Circular shapes should also be fine. You can manually trigger an integrity check to see how the streamlining is going.
Any crafting machine without the "Cannot be placed on: Spaceship" tag in the tooltip can be built on spaceship, to bring your factory with you. The recipes available will depend on the spaceship's situation, whether it is in space or on the ground.
Warning: If a space-based recipe is set while the spaceship lands, the ingredients will be lost. Some land-based crafting machines can function in space, but they will lose the ability to use productivity modules while in space. If the spaceship launches with productivity modules in these machines, the productivity modules are destroyed.
Spaceship Structural Integrity
Spaceship Structural Integrity dictates the maximum size of your ship. Early on, you will be very limited on spaceship size by the integrity stress limits of your technology level. The base integrity limit is 300. spaceship technology will allow you to construct spaceship parts. Additional research lets you build larger spaceships. Integrity is calculated in 2 parts:
- Hull stress, mainly based on the size and shape of the ship.
- Container stress, based on the item and fluid storage capacity of the ship.
The total integrity stress is whichever stress factor is larger, the two values are not added together. If your hull stress is 250 and your container stress is 280, the Spaceship Structural Integrity stress will be 280.
In the console interface, mousing over the hull stress bar will break down the calculation:
- Each tile of spaceship floor adds 1 stress
- Each spaceship wall discounts 0.75 stress
- Each empty tile of spaceship floor without a building on top of it discounts 1 Hull stress, up to a maximum of 10% of tiles
Mousing over the container stress bar will detail the containers on board. Each item slot of a chest or similar container will add 0.5 container stress. For fluids, each 1k capacity will add 1 container stress, except for vanilla tanks which add 0.5 container stress per 1k, and booster tanks which add 0.25 container stress per 1k. Tanks storing steam will add double their usual container stress.
Exceptionally long thin ships, or ships with very thin sections in the middle are less sturdy than more rotund designs. Long ships will receive an increasing percentage malus to their hull stress. Wide ships are sturdy but must clear more asteroids.
Some structures have special effects on the ship integrity or speed, such as the Nexus.
The ship has 60 tiles with walls, and 160 tiles without walls. The integrity stress is 30 + 160 = 190 from size. The ship has 10 containers with 48 slots each. The integrity stress is 10 * 48 / 2 = 240 from cargo. The total integrity stress is 240 from the higher container stress. If 2 containers are removed for a total of 8 containers the stress would drop to 192. The total integrity stress would also drop to 192. If 2 more containers are removed for a total of 6 containers the container stress would drop to 144, but the total stress would be 190 from the spaceship size.
There are two types of propulsion for spaceships, engines and booster tanks. Engines propel the ship through space, while booster tanks allow the ship to take off from a surface and can store fuel for the engines. There are 3 tiers for each with a unique fuel:
- Liquid rocket fuel, unlocked by the spaceship technology
- Ion stream, unlocked by the ion engine technology
- Antimatter stream, unlocked by the antimatter engine technology
|Fuel||Electrical Power Required / MW||Fuel / second||Thrust||Size||Capacity||Launch Energy per tank / GJ||Size|
|Liquid Rocket Fuel||0.1||50||1||3x4||100k||200||3x3|
*Ion Booster Tanks can ONLY take off from space, and NOT from planets or moons.
Launch energy is the energy required to take off from a surface into free space. The fuel that supplies this energy is stored in booster tanks. It depends on the size of the spaceship (it's integrity) and (if relevant) the size of the planet or moon being taken off from. Taking off from the surface of a planet or moon requires much more energy than taking off from space.
launch energy from land: (500 + <planet radius>) * <spaceship integrity> * 0.135 MJ launch energy from space: <spaceship integrity> * 33.75 MJ
Example, for a 300 integrity ship taking off from Nauvis:
launch energy from land: (500 + <5692>) * <300> * 0.135 MJ = 261.7 GJ launch energy from space: <300> * 33.75 MJ = 10.1 GJ
Ship speed is based on the thrust of the engines vs the ship weight (approximated by integrity stress). Engines can be placed in/on the ship, but engines at the back of the ship with empty space behind are more effective. Fully enclosed engines are 60% effective. Engines at the edge of the ship also have a slight advantage.
You can set a target speed for the ship to aim for by an automation wire to the console. If the ship exceeds the target speed then it will start disabling engines to more closely match the target speed and save fuel. In the console interface there are 3 speed limit options for different areas of space, so you can further reduce your speed for high asteroid areas that might otherwise overwhelm your defences.
Spaceships can be automated to take off, to fly to a destination and to dock at a destination by circuit wires.
The spaceship console is a required component for building a spaceship. First placing a console will verify the integrity of the spaceship: if it passes the ship will flash blue, a failure will flash orange.
Left-clicking the console will open the spaceship interface. This has four tabs detailing:
- Integrity, showing meters for hull stress and container stress, with a button for manually checking integrity.
- Speed, allows manually setting target speeds for different space situations. If the ship is anchored there is a meter showing the required and fulilled take-off energy stored in booster tanks. If the ship is flying there meter showing the ship's speed. The level of streamlining is also shown here.
- Position, information about the ships position in space.
- Destination, this tab allows you to manually set the spaceship's destination, and displays an estimated travel time.
At the bottom is the button to to launch the ship, or anchor to a surface if you have arrived at your destination.
The console can be connected to automation wires on both the left and right corners. The left is for inputting information into the console to control the spaceship, the right outputs signals from the console about the spaceship.
The output signals from the right are:
- The console number indicates the spaceship's ID.
- The speed signal number indicates the spaceship's speed: -1 if stopped, -2 if anchored.
- The distance signal indicates the distance to the selected destination: -1 if arrived, -2 if anchored, -3 if no destination is set.
- A fourth signal indicates the current destination, if any.
- Certain parts of space have more or less asteroids that your ship will encounter. The density of asteroids where the ship is currently positioned is indicated with the D signal.
- If the spaceship is anchored then it indicates the numerical value of the anchored zone id with the A signal.
The main structure of the console can accept signal inputs on the left side:
- The speed signal sets a target speed and engages the engines. A negative signal stops the engines instead.
- A positive Spaceship launch signal triggers a launch.
- A destination signal sets the destination (you can see a zone's signal from the Universe Explorer side panel once you have constructed a spaceship).
Note: Both the destination signal's type (ex. or ) and the signal's value/id must match for the destination to be set.
Note: A spaceship console will not accept Launch or Speed inputs until a player has manually launched and engaged the ship at least once. This is to prevent blueprinted spaceships from accidentally launching while still in the middle of being built by bots.
Note: The console only checks for changes to the input signal every second; a sustained signal is required for the ship to react, single tick pulses will not work.
Spaceship clamps have a power and circuit network connection point in their upper corner. When clamps are connected during automatic landing, the power and circuit network signals are joined, allowing for power and circuit signals to be passed between the ship and the landing location.
Clamps are also used in automated landings. To cause a spaceship to land, the console must be given a pair of anchor signals, either:
- "Anchor using left clamp" () with "anchor to right clamp" ()
- "Anchor using right clamp" () with "anchor to left clamp" ()
The numerical value of the "anchor using ..." signal must match the value of a clamp on the ship with the specified orientation. The value of the "anchor to ..." signal must match the value of a clamp at the destination.
If a match is found for both the "anchor using ..." and "anchor to ..." signals given to the ship console, then the ship will try to land with the two clamps connected. Use with caution.
To set the ID of a clamp, left-click to open the clamp GUI and change the numerical value of the clamp signal to the ID you wish for the clamp to have. You never need to change the type of the clamp signal.
You can prevent a clamp from being anchored to by passing it a positive red signal.
The spaceship has a left-clamp with ID 315. In that clamp's GUI the signal is with a value of 315.
The landing surface has a right-clamp with ID 147. In that clamp's GUI the signal is with a value of 147.
In order to get the spaceship to land using those two clamps, the left side of the ship console must be passed the following signals: 315 and 147