Elite Dangerous – Mass, Jump Range and Ship Upgrades Guide - Prima Games

Elite Dangerous – Mass, Jump Range and Ship Upgrades Guide

by Prima Games Staff

Now that you chose a career, found the best ship and learned your way around Elite Dangerous, it’s time to dig deep into your virtual wallet and shell out some credits for ship upgrades.

Like everything, you’ll want your ship to be as fast, agile, capable and as dangerous as possible depending on your chosen profession. To achieve this, you’ll need to spend the money to upgrade your ship and get ready to rule the skies, or stars in this case.

First you’ll need to head to a large Starport. Unfortunately Outposts do not offer Outfitting for you ship, so you’ll need to visit a larger station. Once you’re at a station, dock and then head into the Starport Services to find the Outfitting option in the dropdown list.

Mass and Jump Range

One of the most important things to keep in mind when purchasing upgrades is how much mass it adds to your ship. The greater your ship’s mass, the lower your unladen and laden jump range will be. Remember that each Hardpoint and every internal component for your ship adds to your mass, however different class items will add more or less mass than others. Be sure to look at your ship’s stats when checking out upgrades in the outfitting menu.

The Power Plant

Perhaps the single most important internal part of your ship, the Power Plant is basically the mechanical beating heart of your future. If you don’t have enough power wattage to support your weapons and other internals, your ship will automatically power off, which usually ends up with you flying without Life Support. Make sure your ship’s Power Plant has enough juice to keep all your systems going even when you deploy your Hardpoints.


There really isn’t much to be said about thrusters. Basically this system is responsible for pushing your ship around every direction imaginable. You should look for lower mass and lower power consumption when upgrading this item.

Frame Shift Drive

Another fairly important system, the Frame Shift Drive is responsible for your SuperCruise and Hyperspace flight, both of which are key ways to travel in the Elite Dangerous universe. If destroyed, you’ll be stranded in the middle of space without any way to get back to a station for repairs. Look for more jump range when upgrading this component.

Life Support

The Life Support sub-system is responsible for creating the artificial atmosphere in your ship, and when your ship’s hull is damaged and penetrated it will be the biggest deciding factor of how much breathable air you have left. Currently, the highest time limit is 25 minutes. When upgrading, make sure to look for a higher time limit than your current system.

Power Distributor

Once your ship generates the power, the Power Distributor is responsible for determining how much of that energy goes to Systems (SYS), Engines (ENG) or Weapons (WEP). Upgrading this internal component will allow you to divert more energy from the ship’s reactor to the other systems and increase the recharge and bank sizes, which is well worth doing if you have the spare energy.


Your Sensors are responsible for keeping track of other ships and items in the immediate area. When upgrading this item, look for an upgrade with a higher range.

Fuel Tank

You can’t get anywhere in a car without fuel, and a spaceship is no different. If you want to get places without having to worry about constant stops for refueling, then you’ll want to look for a large Fuel Tank to upgrade your ship. This will allow more jumps without having to stop at nearby stations for fuel.


The last important system we’d like to cover is the Shields. These are the last line of defense before the enemy’s bullets begin ripping through your ship’s hull. The stronger your shields are, the longer you’ll be able to stand and fight against tougher pilots.

As we stated above, whenever  upgrading, make sure you have enough power for everything you’ve dropped into your ship’s various compartments. The last thing you want to do is deploy your Hardpoints or Fuel Scoop and have your Life Support get cut off due to insufficient power from your reactor.

Add-On Upgrades

Now we’d like to discuss some of the additional items you can add to your ship. We already covered many of these in our career breakdown articles, however we felt mentioning a few of them here was a good idea.

The Fuel Scoop is a must for traders or explorers looking to make long distance voyages. At the same time, the Basic Discovery Scanner is a good add-on to carry with you if you’re going to fly through deep space. There are a lot of stars waiting to be discovered, and you wouldn’t want to miss out because you’re ill prepared.

If you’re looking to jump into combat, you’ll want to make sure you’re carrying some Chaff with you, as it will help to distract automated turrets that you’ll find on bigger ships like Anacondas and Pythons. If you plan to smuggle goods into large stations, make sure you have a Heatsink on board so you can jettison that extra heat and stay cool without showing up on sensors.

Remember to pay attention to your mass and power usage, and you shouldn’t have too hard of a problem finding the perfect setup to upgrade your ship.

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