No Man's Sky - Everything You Need to Know About Freighters | GAME3A

No Man's Sky - Everything You Need to Know About Freighters

Freighters have become an indispensable luxury, if not a necessity, in No Man's Sky. Whether you recruit and command space fleets to increase your pas...

Levi Winslow Sept 10, 2023
No Man's Sky - Everything You Need to Know About Freighters

Freighters have become an indispensable luxury, if not a necessity, in No Man's Sky. Whether you recruit and command space fleets to increase your passive profit or utilize the instantly deployable base facilities, there is no doubt about the usefulness of these starships.

If you're new or returning to the game after taking a break, having already completed the simple beginnings, here's everything you need to know about the increasingly advantageous freighters in No Man's Sky.

Updated on September 10, 2023, by Sean Murray: The latest Echoes update for No Man's Sky has added a brand-new type of freighter that you must fight against to protect friendly and law-abiding units. We have updated this guide with information about pirate freighters and how to combat them.

How To Get Your First Freighter For Free In No Man's Sky

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The game offers you your first freighter for free, and you don't have to wait long or overcome a hundred obstacles to get it. You just have to jump through a few systems to trigger your first pirate encounter.

Stay vigilant and be on the lookout for distress calls from besieged freighters as you jump into each new system. If you respond to the call and successfully free the freighter from the attacking pirate fleet, the captain of the freighter will invite you on board and offer you free command of the ship.

You can choose to inspect the ship as per their offer or request a different form of payment. The latter is advisable, as the first freighter you rescue will be a regular system freighter with the standard capacity of 19 slots.

On the other hand, if you decline this initial offer, the second freighter encounter you come across will be a capital freighter with a capacity of 24-34 slots, and its captain will also offer you the services of their ship as a token of gratitude.

Other Ways To Obtain Freighters In No Man's Sky

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Apart from claiming one of these debts of gratitude, there are a few other ways to acquire freighters in No Man's Sky.

Purchase A Freighter

As you navigate through space, pay attention to any fleets you encounter. There may be some ships within the group marked with a badge (green for frigates, purple for freighters), indicating that they are recruitable.

You simply need to fly close to the frigates to trigger a distress signal from the potential ship. You can then inspect it from your own spacecraft and decide whether it's worth adding to your fleet.

Acquiring a freighter, on the other hand, requires you to land on the freighter and speak with the captain. You will find them on the bridge of the freighter, two levels above.

Space Battles

The occurrence of space combat during warping is not random. These events are programmed to happen regularly. Reloading the game will reliably trigger another freighter battle, with each instance having the chance of generating a different freighter.

This gives you the opportunity, so to speak, to shuffle your cards and potentially get a better freighter for recruitment.

You can find more information about space combat in the section titled "Pirate Freighters" below.

Standard Freighter Operations

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Apart from receiving one as payment for heroic deeds, why would someone invest millions of their hard-earned units to acquire and customize a freighter?

Well, building fleets, commanding frigates, and conducting expeditions without direct involvement are the main attractions of owning a freighter. However, having a portable base and additional storage space are also significant selling points. Even without upgrades, freighters come equipped with a range of standard features.

Hangar Bay

The first section you'll come across in your new freighter is the hangar bay, where you can land your ship. Your freighter hangar is also open to other NPC spacecraft, which means you can trade with these other interlopers and even negotiate for their ships, just like you can on space stations.

Base Building Command Room

From the hangar, you walk through a series of doors and a corridor, passing by a staircase. At the end, you enter a project management room where you can oversee the layout of your freighter and the construction of new terminals.

Recommended Terminals

Fleet Command Room

You'll want to build one Fleet Command Station per Expedition you wish to deploy at once. As the game only generates five expeditions per day, you shouldn't need more than six command rooms at a time, and certainly never more than ten.

Additional Storage

Common system freighters have a range of 15-19 slot storage capacities, while capital freighters boast 24-34 slot capabilities. You can use this project management room to build additional storage units and capitalize on your freighter's cargo hold.

Galactic Trade Terminal

Building a trading terminal gives you instant and portable access to the Galactic Market, making transactions easier than ever.

Specialist Terminals

These vary widely from weapon stalls run by an Armorer NPC to a control room for freighter upgrades and many more. Take some time to browse the options and see what combination of facilities is most beneficial to your gameplay style.

Note that some of these facilities are locked behind themed side missions.

The Bridge

At the forefront of the hangar is a staircase that leads to a corridor, at the end of which is the main command room called the "Bridge." From this post, you will command multiple operations.


Freighters can undergo custom paint jobs, which you can apply here in the Bridge.


You will select and manage expeditions from the Bridge. These NPC-driven auto-missions are a great mechanic for passively earning money and loot. Each expedition has a certain success rate which you can bolster by sending more frigates on the same expedition run.

Manage Fleet

Along with coordinating expeditions from the Bridge, you will also manage the frigates that run them. You'll want to recruit many frigates (30 is the max) to your fleet so you can run simultaneous expeditions and increase the success rating of their returns. When an expedition is successful, it is a chance for the participating frigates to tier up in class, ranging through C, B, A, and S. This terminal also allows you to manage your Squadron by unlocking squadron slots and upgrading pilots for Nanites.

Freighter Warp Map

This interface functions the same as the warp drive on your other ships, requiring upgrades and fueling to reap the maximum benefits.

Galactic Commissions Station

Another feature that makes freighters feel reminiscent of Space Stations, available side missions are posted to this task board. This is always worth a browse if you've got some free time to earn some extra rewards.

Abilities & Limitations

With great advantages also come occasional setbacks, so here is a list of the special pros and cons of owning a freighter.

  • You can port your freighter to your current location as you can your other ships by using the menu.
  • Each Star System has its own Super-massive freighter model, so you can reliably spawn the same style upon a return visit, though the class is subject to change.
  • Freighter owners can warp full player parties to and from Star Systems if everyone is aboard when they warp.
  • To access items from your freighter's storage, you must be docked on your freighter.

Freighter Models

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The entire classification of ships into small, medium, and large, which used to indicate the cargo capacity of a ship, became irrelevant since the Atlas Rises update in 2017. This update allowed all system freighters to be upgraded to a storage capacity of 19 and all capital ships to 34. As a result, players can use their preferred ship model regardless of its size.

Although these size classifications still hold visually, they now only serve as aesthetic references.

When searching for a freighter on the market, it's advisable to conduct some research on specific models as they each have different aesthetic and functional characteristics. There are nine models of system freighters and two families of capital ships, each with three models.

Apart from cargo capacity, the main difference between system freighters and capital ships is that capital ships are designed for sieges, which they ultimately have to withstand, while system freighters are less combat-oriented.

Freighter Upgrades

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Freighter Upgrade Modules

Incorporate these upgrades into either the technology or general inventory slots of your freighter to enhance the performance of frigates during expeditions and increase the hyperdrive range of your freighter. Below is a list of freighter upgrade modules and their areas of effect.


Increases fleets' speed during expeditions by 2-15 points.

Combat Unit

Improves fleets' combat performance by 2-15 points.

Exploration Unit

Improves exploration results by 2-15 points.

Fuel Unit

Increases frigate fuel efficiency during expeditions by 2-20 points.

Mining Unit

Improves mining results by 2-15 points.

Trade Unit

Improves fleets' trading success by 2-15 points.

Freighter Hyperdrive

Increases the freighter's hyperdrive by a range of 50-250.

The strength of the effects depends on the class of the upgrade. Class C upgrades are located at the lower end of the spectrum, while Class S upgrades will provide better results.

Technology Blueprints

Technology blueprints enhance the hyperdrive range of your freighter. You can purchase them in the warp room of the freighter on the bridge. Below is a list of technology blueprints and how much they increase the hyperdrive range.

  • Amplified Warp Shielding - 50
  • Chromatic Warp Shielding - 50
  • Temporal Warp Computer - 50
  • Freighter Hyperdrive - 100
  • Warp Core Resonator - 200
  • Plasmatic Warp Injector - 300
  • Reality De-threader - 800

There is also the Matter Beam technology, a console mechanism that utilizes consumable blueprints. Its purpose is to provide a backup over long distances by transferring supplies between your exosuit and the freighter.

Pirate Freighters

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With the Echoes update, pirate freighters were added. Also known as pirate dreadnoughts, these freighters attack civilian freighters using laser cannons and anti-freighter missiles, supported by a swarm of smaller pirate ships.

When you encounter these freighters, your HUD will display two bars: the red bar indicates the current health of the pirate freighter, while the blue bar shows the health of the attacked civilian freighter. It's up to you to save the trading ship from the attacks of these dreadful space pirates!

Pirate Freighter Anatomy

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There are several notable parts of a pirate freighter that can be destroyed in combat to assist you. The first is the freighter's engines located at the rear of the ship. By destroying these engines, you prevent the freighter from escaping once the tide of battle turns against it.

Next up are the laser turrets that constantly fire at the civilian ship. These turrets can be destroyed to slow down the depletion of shields and hull of the civilian vessel, thus preventing its destruction.

However, it can be challenging to target these parts as the entire pirate freighter is protected by a massive shield. To damage these components, you'll need to fly within the shield. There are also shield generators hidden inside the hull of the pirate freighter that can be destroyed to completely remove the shield.

Pirate freighters will also launch missiles at the civilian freighter, which can cause massive damage to the shields and hull. It is important for travelers to either quickly destroy the pirate freighter or disable these missiles to keep the civilian freighter safe.

Pirate Freighter Combat Tips

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Your strategy largely depends on how powerful the ship you are currently piloting is. If you have a highly upgraded Class S ship with the best available upgrades and weapons, you can ignore everything else and try to take out the pirate freighter before it can do the same to the civilian freighter. In this case, you would first destroy the engines of the pirate freighter, followed by the shield generators, before targeting the laser turrets.

Once all these modules are destroyed, simply start firing at the hull of the pirate freighter until it explodes. In this scenario, you can ignore the smaller pirate ships (or leave them to your fleet) as well as the anti-freighter missiles.

You can still take down the pirate freighter if it destroys the civilian freighter, but your rewards will be significantly reduced.

If your ship is not the strongest, it might be more sensible to first destroy the laser turrets of the pirate freighter to slow down the gradual destruction of the civilian freighter. Then, destroy the engines to prevent the pirate freighter from escaping, and subsequently target the shield generators.

Rewards For Destroying A Pirate Freighter

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After destroying the pirate freighter, you will receive cargo pods to expand your personal freighter, credits, nanites, and reputation with the faction of those you rescued in the civilian freighter.

You will also be able to recruit the pirate frigates surrounding the pirate freighter. These frigates are combat-oriented ships that can have unique bonuses compared to regular combat frigates.