So, you’ve picked up Elite Dangerous and are just starting out on your space adventure. To get the most out of Elite Dangerous your going to need Credits, the in game currency. You will need loads of credits, possibly millions, credits let you buy new components for your ship, let you buy fuel and repairs and you can buy brand new awesome ships as well.
When I first started with Elite Dangerous, I found that salvage missions where an easy way to earn some credits as well as increase your standing with various factions and take in the amazingly beautiful sites of the different star systems you can visit.
This guide will take you through the steps needed to complete a salvage mission. Bear in mind, this is my first ever attempt at writing any sort of game guide, so it may not be the most concise or even the most comprehensible.
Salvage Missions are not the biggest paying missions, but I have found them to be fairly simple and they don’t really take a long time so you can get more done.
Salvage missions can be found at pretty much any starport/station by selecting the Mission Board, they will usually be called something like Trade Data Salvage mission, or Black Box Salvage Mission or perhaps some other type of salvage.
Before you accept the salvage mission, always select the Galaxy Map, this will automatically take you to the mission destination star system, select Plot Route, to make sure you can travel the distance to the system.
OK, you’ve accepted your salvage mission, let’s get started.
Salvage Mission Guide
If you have already plotted your route in the Galaxy Map, your destination star system should be marked on the compass, align your ship with the target, which should be highlighted with the orange 3/4 circle marker and hit Triangle to start-up your Frame Shift Drive and jump to the star system.
Once you have arrived at the destination system you will be at the system’s star/sun, you will be in super cruise, slow your speed down a bit but don;t get too close tot he sun or you will take heat damage.
The first thing you need to do is locate the Navigation beacon and scan it. Go into your left panel and under the Destinations tab you should see Navigation Beacon in the list, if you don’t see it, go to set filters and select Signal Sources.
The Navigation Beacon will now be highlighted on the compass (blue dot) and will have the 3/4 orange circle highlighting it when you look out the cockpit window.
Travel towards it, keeping your speed within the blue shown on your speed indicator, keeping your speed within the blue will mean there is less chance of you over shooting the target.
When you are close enough to the Navigation Beacon, you will see the “Safe Disengage Ready” notice, this appears in blue where the radar is.
When you see the “Safe Disengage Ready” notification, press Triangle to disengage from super cruise. Now fly towards the Navigation Beacon, which should still be highlighted. Fly to about 1km or just under. Now you have to scan the Navigation Beacon to tell you where the Mission Objective will be.
To scan the Navigation Beacon you have to select it, the Navigation Beacon will be floating around nearby from where the 3/4 orange circle marker is.
You can select the Navigation Beacon by either finding it on your radar then locating it so you can see it outside your windscreen, the hit X to select it or you can locate and select it by going into your left panel then go to Contacts tab and the Navigation Beacon should be listed there, simply highlight it and hit X to select it.
Make sure you have your ship facing the nav beacon so you can see it, your ship will then start scanning the Navigation Beacon. You will see it scanning in the Target Information area at the bottom left of the HUD.
Once the nav beacon has been scanned you will receive an audible notification saying “incoming mission critical message” and you will see the Mission Updated notification in blue in the middle of the HUD, now you can go into your messages by going into your communications panel by pressing square and up on the d-pad and tabbing along to messages, read the message, it will either tell you the location of the thing you are going to salvage or will tell you the location has been updated into your transactions.
If the message doesn’t tell you your next target location, go into your left panel then into Transactions and select your current mission. Scroll down and next to Destination it will say Target Body with the name of the planet, moon or other location you have to go to for your salvage.
Now, start-up the System Map which can be found on the left hand side of the Navigation tab in your left panel. Once the System Map has loaded there should already be an orange mission marker over the planet or location you need to go to. Hover over the planet or location and hit select on the little tooltip thing that pops up, this will mark the target on your compass as well as highlight it with the 3/4 orange circle marker.
Next, align your ship with the target and hit Triangle to charge your Frame Shift Drive and enter super cruise. Depending on how far away your target body is, you could be there in a couple of minutes or longer.
When you are nearing the target, make sure your speed is in the blue so you don’t overshoot it. When you get close to the target body you won’t get the “Safe Disengage Ready” notification as you need to fly around the planet in super cruise to find the signal source of your salvage. Sometimes you can find the signal source within seconds of arriving, other times it can take 10 minutes or more.
When you do finally detect the mission objective you will hear an audible notification saying “mission objective detected”, as soon as you here this, slow your speed way down, I don’t know how many times I have lost sight of a mission objective because I was going to fast. the mission objective may appear in front of you or within your view, it will have blue text and will say “Mission: Unidentified Signal Source” once you see it hit X to highlight it.
If you don’t see it, go into your left panel and under the navigation tab you should see it in blue text, if you do not see it under navigation, you may need to select reset filters. You can then select the mission objective and then select Lock Destination, this will mark it on your compass and make it easy to find.
Whilst still in super cruise, head towards the objective, not too fast though, remember to keep your speed within the blue. Once you are at a close enough range you will get the “safe disengage ready” notification, press triangle to disengage from super cruise and you will be near your objective.
At this point you will probably notice a few things floating about on your radar. Next you need to identify and target the thing you are here to salvage. This could be trade data, a black box or some other item.
You can check what you are salvaging by going into your left panel then transactions and select the current mission. To target the objective, whilst in the left panel go to contacts and you will see the list of canisters or items that are currently floating about outside of your ship, highlight the one you are to salvage and hit X and it will highlight it on the radar with < > angle brackets around it.
Now comes the tricky part. Press circle and up on the d-pad to activate your cargo scoop and fly slowly and carefully towards your target. When you activate the Cargo Scoop you will see cross hairs appear on the lower left of your HUD, over where you would normally see the holographic image of your target.
You need to fly slowly and carefully towards the target and keep the blue dot, which represents the cargo you are salvaging, bang in the middle of the crosshairs. When you are about 100 metres away, you probably want to reduce your speed down to about 10 or so metres per second, sometimes though the target can be moving also so you may have to adjust your speed if you find the target is moving further away, it’s a bit of trial and error really, some are easy to scoop up and some can be a right pain.
You will hear the audible beep get faster as you move closer to your target, I generally keep my eyes on the crosshairs to make sure the blue dot is still in the center.
When you are getting really close you will see the holographic image of the canister get bigger within the crosshairs view. As long as you’re not going too fast you should be able to scoop it up fine.
If for some reason, you crash into the canister and it the audible message tells you that the target has been destroyed, fear not, the mission objective will respawn but you will have to locate it again and then re attempt to scoop up the cargo. If I accidentally destroy the target, I find that flying to another planet in the system and then flying back to your target destination will usually make the Mission Objective spawn a bit faster.
Once you have scooped up the cargo, you will see Cargo Acquired notification appear. You will then hear an audible message telling you the mission objective is complete and you will receive a mission update message under the messages tab in the communications panel.
Congratulations, you have completed your salvage mission, almost. You now need to travel back to the station/starport where you picked up the mission, sometimes though the mission giver can tell you to go to another location with your cargo but you will usually receive a bonus for this.
Note: Be careful when travelling back, if you fly too close to a Sun/star it can cause heat damage which can cause your cargo hatch to malfunction, I’ve lost many a precious cargo like this.
Once your back at the starport or whatever destination you have to return to, go to the Mission Board to claim your reward.
I hope you found this guide at least a little bit useful, or you found it at least understandable if nothing else. I play Elite Dangerous most days and I will no doubt be posting more guides, tips, etc for this amazing game.