Theory crafting the best exploration ship

I'm trying to decide on my next exploration ship and did some theory crafting on coriolis. Here's my research, sharing links to the builds here in case anyone else might want to use it as a jumping off point.

Design choices are aiming for a ship that can stay out more or less forever. To that end-

Optional Internals:

All ships get a detailed surface scanner, the biggest fuel scoop you can fit, super cruise assist (you're going to be out there a long time, bring all the conveniences), two SRVs where possible (two is one and one is none), a small shield, a repair limpet controller and a small cargo rack, and an AFMU (two where they'll fit).

Also, as backup, each gets a single mining laser and heatsink.

Core internals:

All ships get the biggest A-rated FSD, and the smallest A-rated power plant that can power them in "flight mode". The AFMU, limpets, SRV bay and mining laser are normally powered down, to use them you'll have to shut off some other stuff. Everything else is D-rated. Ships get the smallest D-rated thrusters allowed and the smallest D-rated power distributor that will still allow a boost.

Here's the builds I came up with – note these are unengineered values! You can click on each build in the table below and apply engineering yourself to the amount that's available to you and see how it improves the builds.

ShipCostJump Range1Total Range1Refuel TimeResting HeatSRVsAFMU RepairLimpet Repair2Pitch Rate per sec
Asp Explorer43,466,42133.36232.260:3626.57%2112180(*4)27°
Cobra Mk III6,799,56124.90144.330:4629.21%27060(*4)31°
Diamondback Explorer12,969,26136.27253.431:3323.39%211260(*4)28°
Dolphin18,646,80129.76173.600:2734.11%2151.2, 7060(*4)23°
Imperial Courier36,987,40125.41126.260:4528.89%111260(*2)33°
Krait Phantom87,453,20533.54233.570:3625.30%2187.6, 187.6180(*8)21°
Orca99,665,51131.63219.760:3627.07%2187.6, 187.6180(*4)20°
Python4108,076,81126.39 (23.21)182.19 (498.08)0:36 (1:49)28.28%2187.6, 187.6180(*64)24°
Type 7 Transporter468,509,71128.50 (26.54)197.26 (366.86)0:36 (1:12)29.15%2187.6, 187.6180(*32)14°
Viper Mk IV6,897,47123.97138.810:4630.31%27060(*4)25°
Anaconda4269,932,70136.29 (27.54)148.11 (900.07)0:25 (2:59)26.81%2187.6, 187.6180(*16)18°


  1. All jump ranges assume empty cargo holds. If you need to repair your hull, the assumption is you'll make limpets out there as you need them.
  2. 60(*4) means each limpet repairs 60 hull, and you can carry up to 4 of them.
  3. I removed the mining laser and heat sink from the courier, as its such a light ship it makes a big difference.
  4. These ships have space for extra fuel tanks. The first set of ranges and refuel times is if you leave the extra tanks empty, the second set is for if you fill the spare tanks.

With a little engineering, these ranges go way up.

E.g. the DBX and Krait (which I think I'm trying to decide between) improve to jump ranges of 48.39ly and 43.85ly with just 3 engineering on their FSD, with their total ranges going up to 337.97ly and 311.79ly.

The Asp Explorer is also really good, but I already took one of those out to Sgr A* a few years ago. And a completely stock Anaconda with all the exploration trimmings can go 900ly without refuelling! I expect the slow turning rate would annoy me though, as I plan to do a fair bit of actual exploring, not just going from A to B.

Last time I played this game was pre-horizons, so let me know if I'm missing anything important, or if you think these builds are rubbish for whatever reason.


leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *