Learn how to find or buy and then upgrade your first starship in this guide to No Man's Sky.

No Man’s Sky Beginner’s Guide: Ship Types and Upgrades

Learn how to find or buy and then upgrade your first starship in this guide to No Man's Sky.
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There are two ways that you can obtain a personal starship in No Man’s Sky: buying a ship on a space station or finding a crashed one and repairing it. There are also several types of ships that you can pilot or encounter on your way through the galaxy.

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You should choose the type of ship that corresponds to your playstyle. For example, if you like to chill and just roam in space looking for fun planets, then choose an Explorer ship, but if you like to fight sentinels, pirates and other vicious entities that inhabit space, then choose a Fighter ship.

Let’s take a look at these different kinds of starships in No Man’s Sky and learn how to upgrade them.

Types of ships in No Man’s Sky

There are three main types of ships that players can find or buy in No Man’s Sky: Explorer, Fighter, and Trader. You won’t see these specific markings within the game itself, but the stats of different kinds of ships clearly hint at this division.


No Man’s Sky explorer ship

  • The main distinctive feature of an Explorer ship is a better Engine and Hyperdrive that allow for a much faster travel. So, if you like to explore and get to the next planet as quickly as possible, look for this type of ship.
  • Explorers also have much better stealth technologies than any other starship in the game, which allows you to explore planets undetected.
  • There exists another slight modification of an Explorer ship, called “Science ship,” but the only difference is that this type of ship has better scanners.
  • The closer you will get to the center of the galaxy, the better ships you will find. So it will take some time before you will be able to find a really good one.

No Man’s Sky fighter ship

  • Fighters are usually smaller, but also more maneuverable than other ships. They are still pretty fast, although not as fast as Explorers.
  • This type of ship is designed for space battles and will have higher stats on Laser Beam, Plasma Shot and Rapid-fire Shots.
  • Since this type of ship is meant for combat, always be prepared to repair it often or even lose it completely to damage or crash.

No Man’s Sky trader ship

  • The trader ship is an odd choice since it’s bigger in size, but also has strong weapons (Energy Torpedo) and protection (Shields).
  • It can carry a lot more resources than Explorer and thus can be used for accumulating extra items for further trading.

How to upgrade ships in No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky ship upgrades

Buying and repairing
  • The easiest way to obtain a ship is to find a randomly generated one on the surface of a planet.
    • It will usually be a crashed ship, so you need to invest resources in order to repair it.
  • On the other hand, you can just buy a ship that is better than yours and it doesn’t require any repairs.
    • All you need to have is enough Units, an in-game currency, and travel to the closest space station to purchase the type of ship that you want to pilot.
  • There are no restrictions in the game when it comes to purchasing different types of ships, so you can switch between these different ships whenever you like.
Crafting and upgrading

You can’t craft an entire ship from scratch, but you can craft special technological items that can improve your current ship. For example, you can buy a Fighter and put a better shield for stronger protection.

Overall, there are four types of upgrades you can attach to your spacecraft:

  • Hyperdrive is probably the most important one since you will use it more often than any other type of technology.
    • It will allow you to jump from one star system to another in the shortest possible time.
  • Deflector shields are just as important since they will protect your ship from attacks and space debris.
    • However, both Hyperdrive and Shields require a lot of fuel, so keep this in mind.
  • Ship weapons, such as Photon Cannon and Phase Beam, may serve as an excellent protective means, if you don’t want to go an offensive route in No Man’s Sky.
    • For example, a Cannon can clear asteroids that stand on your way, while Phase Beam needs no fuel to be able to operate.
  • Scanner is the last type of technology that can be upgraded in No Man’s Sky.
    • It improves the scanning ability of your multi-tool on planets and animals.

With all this in mind you can now choose your favorite type of ship and use it in the correct way. You can also improve it and make a hybrid type that combines the best elements of all other types of ships that are available in the game.

Come back soon for more No Man’s Sky guides at GameSkinny!

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Serhii Patskan
Serhii is the Writer at GameSkinny. He's been writing for GameSkinny since 2015. Before that, he's been writing for various outlets and playing video games, which eventually turned into a passion. The video games that have contributed the most to his enthusiasm for writing about this industry are Magic: The Gathering, Dark Souls, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.