Starports are the mega-structures that space-faring humans call home in the year 3300
They are quite literally cities in space, and are found in each inhabited star system.
Starports are the commercial hubs of each system, for trade of commodities and information.
Pilots buy or outfit their ships, access Starport Services to accept and conclude missions, trade and obtain news and intel from GalNnet.
There are currently three different types of Starport, the Coriolis, Orbis and Ocellus. Each spins to create artificial gravity.
Docking takes place near the centre, where low gravity assists loading and unloading cargo. Living quarters are out on the periphery, where the rotation speed is tuned to produce standard Earth gravity.
Coriolis Star Ports
The Coriolis is the iconic dodecahedron Starport from Elite.
Its around 2km in diameter.
Inverted skyscrapers are placed on the outside – “basement” penthouses provide comfortable gravity and spectacular views of the local planet or moon.
Orbis Star Ports
Orbis are the giant Starports first introduced in Frontier, based on the ‘Stanford torus’ concept.
Measuring around 4km in diameter, the torus contains accommodation and amenities such as park land.
The smaller 2km diameter torus mid way down the Orbis provides 0.5g gravity for an easy living environment.
The giant bays towards the rear of the Orbis house vast storage capability for these mega-markets.
Ocellus Star Ports
Ocellus Startports are new to Elite: Dangerous. They are smaller, stronger, better protected from radiation and more expensive than the Coriolis class Starports.
Ocellus are based on a modified Bernal sphere design.
At the terraced front and rear of the sphere lie the more industrial parts of the station. Life support machinery, liquid and gas storage, workshops and small factories designed for producing goods in low gravity are positioned here, as well as capital-class weaponry for defence purposes.
The very front of the station is home to the famous docking portal, viewing and control galleries, plus commercial and official premises and offices.
The main reason for their extra strength is the Ocellus stations can be moved intact from place to place as opposed to being assembled on site.
Giant drives can be attached to them to move them from system to system when required, albeit very much more slowly than even the largest cargo ships.
It is said that the arrival of an Ocellus at a gold-rush world marks the end of the early stage of the gold rush, as it signals the arrival of the eye of officialdom and the beginning of the end of the anarchic freedom of those heady early days.
The giant Starports already in game are the space equivalents of surface cities and towns. Each is a vast, bustling metropolis inhabited by tens of thousands of people or more.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? Places you find in the middle of nowhere that can be a life saver – or something different.
Outposts are the Elite: Dangerous equivalent of the run-down road-side cafe, the isolated fuel station, the research outpost, the deep-space shack where Joe the Hermit lives.
Most outposts only have a few landing spots. They’re out in the open, so even on the pad you can see the planet revolving below (or is it above?) you. You feel exposed. You are exposed!
Outposts are mostly zero-G too, and ships are held magnetically in place.
Outposts are often unsafe. It may have been a cheap re-fuelling stop last time you visited, but can you be sure it hasn’t been taken over by pirates since?