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The subject of this article is from the Expeditions update.
The information from this article is up-to-date as of 1 June, 2021.
Crashed Ship
Crashed Ship
Category Abandoned Starship
Description Crashed starship found on a planet.
Updated Expeditions

Disambig.png This article is about the current version for Crashed Ships. For the Atlas Rises version, see Crashed Ship (Atlas).

Crashed Ships are a Point of Interest.


An Empty Location

Crashed Ships are one of various planetary Points of Interest.

They spawn randomly on planets, and can be of several sizes and classes (check out the starship page for the different types and how to spot the best). The player can choose to claim and repair it, or exchange it for a better one at a Space Station or an Outpost. The crashed ship can be exchanged for one of the ships already owned, or, if fewer than nine ships are already owned, it can be added to your starship collection. The ship not in use will be stored on the freighter. Warping the freighter one time after accepting the crashed ship will move the other ship to the hangar. Players that don't own a freighter can still own more than one ship, it will just stay on the ground where they were found until they leave the system (eg. teleporting, reloading a save). Alternatively, the player can summon any claimed ship using the Quick Menu (if already repaired or the player has left the system) or by visiting the Space Anomaly and swapping ships via the Quick Menu.

Interacting with the Distress Beacon will give the player a random reward dependent on the player's choice of two possible actions, including units, Nanite Clusters, standing with a race, and maybe a module. There is always a Damaged Machinery nearby as well, providing some Nanite Clusters, Starship Launch Fuel, or a module.

The site can be empty, with a red orb in the Distress Beacon, broadcasting a message to a nearby Atlas Interface. If the player opens their Galaxy Map, the Atlas Interface of the local galactic region will be marked with a waypoint and warp pathway.

The player may encounter the pilot of the crashed ship nearby. Talking to the pilot will present an option to repair the ship, enabling the pilot to get back in and take off. No materials are required to repair the ship. It is not possible to claim the ship in this case.


Crashed ship site (with flag)

Crashed Ships can be located in a variety of ways:

  • Using Transmission Towers. After correctly solving a number sequence at a Transmission Tower, a Distress Signal can be found (in some rare instances the location of a Crashed Freighter will be found instead). Transmission Towers are among the Inhabited Outposts that can be found when using an Inhabited Outpost Planetary Chart.
  • Crashed Ships appear as white dots on a Starship scope when flying across a planetary surface, just like other ships.
  • Using Exocrafts. Nautilon scanner allows scanning for drowned starships nearby, and Minotaur allows scanning for nearby distress signals.

Using Navigation Data[]

You can exchange Navigation Data for a Planetary Chart. Activating a Planetary Chart from your inventory will mark a Point of Interest on the same or (if not on any), on the closest planet. The point of interest is random for its chart type (Distress Signal charts for Crashed Ship). Good sources of Navigation Data are Ancient Data Structures, Waypoints, and Encrypted Navigation Data.

  • Historical note: Visions or earlier: Using a Signal Booster, with Navigation Data and scanning for Distress Frequencies. There are several types of Distress Frequencies, so more than one scan may be needed to find a Distress Signal, just clear any signals found before scanning again.

Location Strategy[]

Distress Signal Detected

  • Do a scan for Distress Frequencies, using the Planetary Chart (distress signal)
  • If the signal found is any of these: Observatory, Abandoned Building or Crashed Freighter, do not visit the location. Scan again using another Planetary Chart and ignore any errors that state a similar structure is already marked (charts will not be expended). Activate the chart repeatedly until a Distress Signal is revealed.
  • If the signal found was not a Distress Signal, scan again using another Planetary Chart, repeat the procedure above until the first Distress Signal is found. Be aware that some planets may not have a Crashed Ship. This can be identified if you get the same sites again.
  • After finding and clearing the first Distress Signal on that planet, it is recommended you fly to the other side of the planet before activating another chart. Being too close will likely mark the same site, even if you have already claimed the ship and accessed the crash beacon.
  • Be sure to interact with the Distress Beacon at the site. Your game will mark it as found for the next scan(s).
  • Instead of using Planetary Chart (distress signal), it's possible to use Planetary Chart (inhabited outpost). Search for a Transmission Tower to get the first Distress Signal.
  • One known bug is a Crashed Freighter signal staying active after running it. Since the Prisms update, this no longer affects Distress Signals from being marked.
  • Additional method - Find a water planet in a rich system (Gek is better for a greater chance at the more expensive haulers). Build a Nautilon on the water planet. At that point, use the Nautilon sonar to locate crashed ships with no false positives. Repair launcher and pulse drive and go to station to scrap at the salvage station, or repair if you want to keep it. If you find a good hauler, mark it with a save beacon and check back in a few days because they respawn. Move around in the Nautilon as little as possible because they're slow. If no crashed ship is found in a certain area, get back in your ship and move to a different part of the ocean and try again. Note: on rare occasions, sunken ships may be accompanied by a pilot, rendering the ship unclaimable.


In order to fly the crashed ship after claiming it, key technologies on the ship need repair. To launch, these two systems need to be repaired:

After repairing these two systems and adding this ship to the collection (if you choose to do so), either it or the previously flown ship may be left there. The next time the freighter jumps or is summoned, the ship left behind will be transferred to the hangar.

If you have fewer than six ships, you can add the crashed ship to your collection. If you already have six ships you can exchange one for the crashed ship. Any ships from the freighter can be summoned down to be used for the exchange. Beware that the current active ship will be lost forever when the exchange button is pressed, so be sure to transfer cargo and destroy any mods on it.

To take the ship into space, it is also recommended to repair your new ship's shield and guns, because you never know who or what is out there.

Multiple Damaged Components limit storage and technology installation, but each of these can be repaired to free up the slots and increase the trade-in value of the ship.


This can no longer be done, if you choose to not claim it you can not gain anything from it. (NEXT). In an exchange, remember to transfer cargo and destroy any modules on the ship being scrapped.

Trading in or Scrapping Crashed Ships[]

Once the Launch Thruster and Pulse Engine are repaired, the ship can be flown to a Space Station, Trade Outpost or a Minor Settlement (any place with a Landing Pad) and trade it for any of the ships landing there. Since Synthesis the whole ship can also be scrapped at the Starship Outfitting Terminal on a Space station. The trade-in or scrapping value will be reduced by the ratio of Damaged Components to total slots. For example, a Class B shuttle with 24 slots is worth 2,280,000Units.png. The normal trade-in value is 70% of that, or 1,596,000Units.png. If 12 of the 24 slots have damaged components, the trade-in value will be reduced by 50% to 798,000Units.png. Damaged installed technology (e.g. Photon Cannon or Deflector Shield) and damaged Technology Slots do not count against the trade-in value. (i.e. repairing damaged technology slots will not increase the value of the ship)

If you choose not to repair the Launch Thruster and the Pulse Engine, this method will transfer the ship to a Space Station and allow you to scrap it:

  1. claim the crashed ship but leave it at the crash site
  2. fly away with another ship from your collection
  3. from inside the perimeter of one of your bases, recall the crashed ship on the ground and make it your active ship by climbing in the cockpit
  4. use a Base Teleporter to go to a Space Station, and the crashed ship will be teleported to the Space station with you Note: ship will arrive with launch thruster and pulse engine repaired but all other damaged tech will remain damaged
  5. use the Starship Outfitting Terminal to scrap the ship Note: after scrapping, if the player's default ship was also damaged, it will not arrive repaired