Elite Dangerous Deep-Space Explorer's Guide: Shipsby@halexmorph
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Elite Dangerous Deep-Space Explorer's Guide: Ships

by Jacob LandryMay 13th, 2022
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Whether you're heading out to mine or going to discover a new planet, you need the right ship for the job. Learn what to consider before spending millions on your next ship.

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A couple of years ago, I left civilization in search of peace “in the black.” Over time I grew lonely and weary of the repetition of jumping from star to star with very little to do and returned home to Jameson Memorial. Recently, however, I’ve been feeling the urge to head back out into the unknown.

The First Expedition

The actual goal of my first expedition was simple: to make it to Beagle Point (and back). I built myself a DBX that had a huge jump range, and not much else going for it. It served me very well. I made it to Beagle Point but was destroyed on my return trip by a poorly executed high-gravity planetary landing. I learned a lot on the trip and was able to cash in a fairly sizable exploration package at Beagle Point. I got my first systems with my name on it and delivered a fresh batch of Hutton Orbital gin (in a Hutton Orbital Mug) to the farthest system possible. Overall, despite ending in failure and having to endure the long, cold journey home in an escape pod, I considered it a success.

Beagle Point

The New Expedition

So let’s cut to the chase. I’m going to start a new journey in the near future and this time, for fun, I’m going to document the entire process here. This trip won’t be nearly as ambitious in range. I have no goal, like the previous Beagle Point, but instead, plan to try to enjoy being out in space instead of constantly trying to hit a target. Instead of trying to reach the farthest system possible, I just want to explore. I want to find new systems/planets. I want to map them, and perhaps mine them if there’s anything valuable. I want to drive around planets and explore them in more detail. I want to find aliens or pirates, any nefarious types lurking in the dark. I just want to play the game. So what will these articles be about? Whatever happens. I don’t plan to make this a travel log or anything mundane like that but I aim to make it a valuable learning experience. If I crash land my ship on a high-gravity planet, you can expect to hear what I learned and how you can avoid the same. Did I fly a little too close to a star without enough heat-sink launchers? Well, be prepared to learn a thing or two about that as well. Are there more efficient ways to find and map uncharted systems? Let’s find out together!


So this first article is about ships. Because my goal is to have fun instead of actually accomplishing something, my ship won’t be a slim DBX with a huge jump range. I’m going to trade jump range for more versatility. I’ve chosen two fairly obvious options.


The python is a great all-around ship. It has enough modules to really be versatile, is still fairly maneuverable, and the jump range isn’t awful.

Python Build on Coriolis

Edit: Forgot the fuel scoop, which is vital. New python build: here.




Lower Jump Range


Meh Cargo Capacity

Well-rounded module slots


enough weapons slots for mining + combat


The obvious winner for many, the Anaconda is a BEAST. It has so many module slots I’m not sure I’d even need them all, and a very decent jump range.

Anaconda Build on Coriolis



Great Jump Range


Decent Cargo Capacity


ample module slots

best visibility in cockpit


Builds Explained

So when trying to put these together I consider a few things.


Anything that isn’t critical, take the D-grade module. These are always the lightest. Things like life-support, thrusters, power-plant, are important, but you can survive with the D-grade module if it means you can jump farther. Anything that isn’t absolutely critical to be perfect, go with D.


Engineering accomplishes two major tasks for these builds. First, it lowers the weight. Using the “stripped down” experimental effect or “lightweight” engineering effect you can make most of your modules virtually weightless. This allows you to maximize your jump range.


Last, you have to consider what you want to use this ship for so that you have everything you need. Here are the required modules for each type of event I want to be able to do

  • Exploration
    • Detailed Surface Scanner
    • Heatsink Launcher
    • Planetary Vehicle Hanger
    • Auto Field-Maintenance Unit
    • Fuel Scoop
  • Mining
    • Cargo
    • Refinery
    • Collector Limpet Controller
    • Prospector Limpet Controller
    • Mining Lasers
    • Abrasion Blaster
    • Sub-Surface Displacement Missiles
    • Pulse Wave Analyzer
  • Combat
    • Weapons (lasers and miniguns for me)
    • Shield (I still chose D-Grade but made sure my thrusters are ready to GTFO if needed)
    • Kill Warrant Scanner
    • Frame Shift Wake Scanner

Using this, I found a way to fit most (if not all) modules in each of these ships so that I could perform each of these tasks out in the black as needed.

Build It!

Next, we have to actually put these ships together. The best way that I’ve found to do this is to set up your engineering lists in Inara. (If you don’t already have an account, set it up now. It’s incredible).

Navigate to Profile > Inventory and Crafting > Crafting lists and start putting together the engineered components you chose in Coriolis. Once these components are input you can view a list of all required materials. I don’t plan to do very much grinding to build this out, I’ll just set up whatever I can but that’s up to you.

Now you should be ready to construct your ship, engineer the heck out of it, and head into the black!

Stay Tuned!

So, here we go! I’m going to make a final decision on my ship build and head into the game to start building. Whatever build I pick, I’m not likely going to be able to fulfill all of my engineering requirements before leaving, and I don’t really want to start a grind to try to build it out. So I will build whatever I can that is as close to the chosen build that’s possible and then head right out. I should, at least, have enough financing and materials to cover enough of the changes to be functional. I’ll write more details on that process when I complete it and then we’ll be off, exploring!