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Thread: Travelling to Sagittarius A* for New CMDR’s

  1. #1

    Travelling to Sagittarius A* for New CMDR’s

    Greetings fellow CMDR’s!

    I recently joined the ranks when Elite Dangerous came out on the PS4. The first few days were brutal learning the game but, after that, it got a lot easier. For some insane reason, after about day 5 or so, I decided to take the trip to Sagittarius A* (which is actually pronounced "Sagittarius A-star" I found out). Several weeks later I reached Sag A* and I learned a LOT in the process. I thought I would share my lessons learned to help any CMDR’s making the trip for the first time. I’ve also included links for some of the common phrases we hear but may not be familiar to all.

    For those that want a quick glance at what you need for the trip, below is a checklist to use as a guide with detailed explanations afterward. It is not complete by any means so please add any knowledge you have in the comments below so we can all benefit. The one thing that has impressed me the most about ED is the way the community is platform agnostic. PC, XBOX, and PS4 players all share their experiences to the betterment of the entire population.

    My suggestions apply to Solo or Private Party play not to Open play which may have different outcomes.

    Checklist in Priority Order
    1. Fuel Scoop
    2. Upgraded Frame Shift Drive (FSD)
    3. Advanced Discovery Scanner
    4. Detailed Surface Scanner
    5. Downgraded or Eliminated Extra Weight
    6. Galaxy Map Modifications
    7. Bookmarked Stopping Points


    A Note on Ships and Equipment
    Throughout this post I’ll be mentioning equipment (modules) you need to acquire. Additionally you may want to play with different configurations and ships to find out what will work best for you. There are two websites you must have in your toolbox for playing ED: Coriolis and EDDB.


    Coriolis - https://coriolis.edcd.io/


    The first step to making sure your trip to Sag A* is a successful one is to pick the right ship for the job. Coriolis can help you. It has a ton of information on every ship in the game. Selecting any ship in the list allows you to play with different configurations (to maximize your jump range) without having to go through the hassle of testing them all out yourself.



    Elite: Dangerous Database (EDDB) - https://eddb.io/
    The absolute best place to find stations that sell what you need is EDDB. This website is essential to your success in ED for a variety of purposes so make sure to explore all the functions is can perform.


    For our purposes we will be taking advantage of the Stations section to locate our modules. Note that you can also search for ships here as well. There are only 4 fields you need to worry about as shown here:



    Let’s break them down:
    Station Sells Modules - The name of the equipment you are trying to acquire.
    Min Landing Pad – Only used if you need a Medium or Large landing pad for your ship. You can determine the size of your ship using Coriolis.
    Powers – Always set to “Li Yong-Rui” unless you are aware of a better price. All ships and modules sold in Li Yong-Rui stations come with a 15% discount.
    Reference System – Set this to your current system so EDDB can find the closest station to your current location.

    Using this information you should be able to track down anything you need.


    Fuel Scoop
    You may be used to filling up at stations inside the bubble which is a common practice; however outside the bubble there are essentially no stations to get fuel. The number one item you need when travelling in the black is a Fuel Scoop.

    Fuel scoops are used to “scoop” fuel from eligible stars. Not all stars are scoopable. More on that later. For now make sure to buy the best fuel scoop (“A” rated) you can for your ship as this will easily be the most used piece of equipment during your travels.


    If you need a tutorial on how to scoop stars, there is an excellent one from EddieRio.


    Upgraded Frame Shift Drive (FSD)

    Having plenty of fuel is only half of the equation. You also need to be able to travel as far as you can with each jump. Make sure you have an “A” rated Frame Shift Drive (FSD) for your ship. Again, Coriolis can help you figure out which Ship/FSD combination will give you the distance you want.

    One mistake I made before travelling into the black was not looking into engineering my FSD. There are engineers in ED that will enhance your modules. You will need to spend time leveling up with an engineer but it is definitely worth it if you have the patience. Here is a list of known engineers and what they can do:
    https://inara.cz/galaxy-engineers

    You will need to get an invite from each engineer which is triggered by in game actions. The invite will come in your Comms panel. If, like me, you may have missed it you can also check your Galaxy Map. Any engineer that has invited you will show up on your map as long as you have “Show Engineers” selected. Engineer icons are very distinctive:



    Advanced Discovery Scanner

    An Advanced Discovery Scanner will allow you to “see” everything in the systems you visit after an active scan (sometimes called “honking” because of the sound made at the end of the scan). Lower grade scanners have a limited range so make sure to buy the “Advanced” version. These scans are worth money when you turn them in to Universal Cartographics. You will want to honk every system you visit.


    Detailed Surface Scanner

    Discovering a system by honking it will make you aware of everything in the system (marking them as “Unexplored”) but if you really want to make some credits then you will also want to detail scan some stars and planets in systems. In time you will decide how much or how little to detail scan. To help you understand the payouts here is a handy reference from CMDR Fru:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/eliteexplor..._payout_guide/

    Also, the only way you can have your name put on a star or planet for being the first to discover it is to do a detailed surface scan so make sure you at least scan the star you first see when you come into a new system.


    Downgraded or Eliminated Extra Weight
    The number one mistake I made on my trip was to not lighten my load before I left. This will be a hard one for some of you to get your head around so I’ll just come out with it: you don’t need any weapons, cargo space, SRV’s, or similar on your trip to Sag A*. I read several articles that said this in a variety of ways but didn’t believe it. I thought I needed to protect myself out in the black, I needed space to carry cargo, and I certainly was going to land on planets to explore with my SRV.

    NO, NO, AND NO.

    All of this stuff sounds great (and may be things you want to take on your second trip to Sag A*) but it is all extra weight that drags down your jump range. After your 300th jump you will be burned out.

    When I started I had an Asp Explorer loaded up with weapons, some cargo space, and an SRV. My unladen (without any cargo on board and a full tank of fuel) jump range was 18.68ly (light years). Every 1000ly would take 54 jumps. After I was finally able to get to Colonia (the only place with stations that have the ability to re-outfit a ship) I managed to strip off nearly everything and get my jump range to 26.74ly which translated into about 38 jumps every 1000ly. I shaved off 16 jumps.

    That may not seem like a lot but consider that the straight-line distance from Sol to Sag A* is 25,900ly. With my heavier build, it would have taken 1,387 jumps. Using my lighter build it would only take 967 jumps. And that is one way.


    Galaxy Map Modifications
    When you are travelling your best friend is your Galaxy Map. Get to know it well. Here are some core settings you should have for your trip to the center:

    Fastest Routes
    Unless you know how to work the map very well always make sure you have it set to use the fastest routes. This will focus on minimizing the number of jumps needed to get to your destination.


    Filtering
    The whole point of having a fuel scoop is so you can get fuel as you go. Recall I said that not all stars are scoopable? It turns out that there are only seven types of stars that can be used for fuel – O,B,A,F,G,K, and M. Several people have come up with mnemonic devices to remember these types. My favorite is KGB FOAM. With that said, I had several near misses almost running out of fuel on my trip until I found out you could filter the Galaxy Map to ONLY show scoopable stars and force the plotter to plot your route using only those stars. Here is an example:

    As you can see I’ve selected the first seven stars and then selected “Apply Filter To Route”. This is very important as it forces the plotter to only use the stars you have picked. Doing this may increase the number of jumps you have to do slightly but it also makes sure you don’t get caught in a system without fuel. Some people have said this may not work all the time but I used it almost my entire trip to Sag A* and it never failed me once.

    Plotting Routes
    I wish someone would have told me when I started that the route plotter only goes to a maximum of 1000ly per plot. I would get into the map and slowly scoot along until the plot icon turned red then I would slowly work my way back until I could plot a route. You don’t have to do that. Just make sure you are under 1000ly maximum on your plot and you will be able to calculate the route.


    Blue Plot Lines
    It may not be a big deal when you are far away from the core but the closer you get to the center the more stars are packed together into a small space. This results in an insane number of blue plot lines showing up and they can get in the way.


    Simply deselect any of the route options and the blue lines will go away. Make sure to reselect a route option when you are done.



    Bookmarked Stopping Points

    I was well on my way to Sag A* before I discovered there were some stations outside the bubble. When I first saw where they were I was still tempted to go straight to the center. Then I found out that you only get credit for exploration when you turn in your discoveries to Universal Cartographics. Let me put it another way. If you don’t turn in the data you can travel all the way to Sag A* and back and never receive credit for all your scans. If you die on the trip some data that has not been turned in will be lost.

    The answer is simple. Don’t go straight to the center. Instead hit the stations along the way to Colonia and turn in your data as you go. From Colonia go to Sag A* and then back to Colonia or a station nearer to turn in your data.

    Here is the list of systems / stations that I hit on my journey. This is not a complete list by any stretch but should make your trip to Sag A* easier. Make sure to bookmark them so they are easy to get to as you travel:
    • Blu Thua AI-A C14-10 / Hillary Depot
    • Lagoon Sector NI-S B4-10 / Amundsen Terminal
    • Eagle Sector IR-W D1-117 / Eagle's Landing
    • Skaudai CH-B D14-34 / Sacaqawea Space Port
    • Gru Hypue KS-T D3-31 / Gagarin Gate
    • Boewnst KS-S C20-959 / Polo Harbour
    • Colonia / Jaques Station


    Jump, Honk, Scoop, Scan
    Finally, I want to end with a word on the experience itself. The trip was definitely worth it. I learned a great deal about the game and got to see some amazing places. As you get into a rhythm you will find the journey to be easier. I highly suggest you have movies or music or anything that takes your mind off the repetition. It will feel lonely out in the black sometimes so make sure you have plenty of entertainment.

    Don't forget to post your success to the SAGITTARIUS A* - Visitor's List:
    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...s-List-Ver-3-0

    Good Luck CMDR’s!

  2. #2
    Nice post, and fun to remember back at my own first steps as a explorer

  3. #3
    amazing post.
    stunning. have some rep.

  4. #4
    Nice guide. I'm in a mostly similar position; about a couple weeks ago, after two trial runs, I set out along the Road to Colonia, went from there to Sagittarius A*, and am now about 15k Ly from the bubble.

    In general, I was probably a little bit more prepared; while I haven't been playing for more than about a month, I've been in the Galactic Academy Discord channel, and was overall quite willing to ask them for advice and look stuff up.

    My advice that would add to or disagree with yours:
    #1: As well as getting your FSD engineered, also get your DSS engineered for extra range. That means you can start scanning earlier as approaching an object. I very much wish I'd done this.

    #2: Ship selection can be important. The big three, in rough order of travel speed, are Anaconda >> Diamondback Explorer > Asp Explorer. Note that I only have personal experience with the Asp.

    Anaconda: Pros
    Is by a significant margin the fastest buckyballer (fastest at travel when you don't stop for anything except fuel scooping)
    Enough module slots for just about everything you might possibly want

    Cons
    Mediocre cockpit view
    Enormously more expensive than the other two, at 140M for the hull alone
    Big, cannot land on some outposts due to needing a large docking port, and may be awkward to set down on a planet
    Turns slowly in supercruise

    Asp Explorer: Pros
    Wonderful cockpit view
    Good variety of optional-internal slots

    Cons
    Less pure jump range than either of the other dedicated explorers. Still bigger than most, but a step behind.

    Diamondback Explorer: Pros
    Cheapest of the lot
    Excellent jump range
    Runs very, very cool

    Cons
    Limited module slots
    Max of a size-4 fuel scoop means more time spent scooping; it's for this reason that it only beats the AspX by a hair for travel speed

    Other ships can and will work, including the good old Sidewinder.

    #3: I would strongly recommend downloading a tool like EDDiscovery and turning verbose logging on for ED, to keep a log of your travels.

    #4: Keep the habitable zone chart ready; high-value worlds such as earth-likes, terraformable worlds, and water worlds are almost exclusively found there. Ammonia worlds are generally found towards or past the outer edge of the zone. There can be exceptions in cases like heavy atmospheres or binary star systems, but most of them are found within the habitable zone.



    #5: If you don't filter out non-scoopables, keep a close eye on your fuel gauge, and when it hits 50%, look for the nearest scoopable.

    #6: I will have to strongly disagree on removing the rover bay; it's a nice break from the tedium of jumping and scanning, and you can find valuable elements, such as those needed for FSD boosts.

    #7: Module Selection: as a reference, here's my current AspX build: https://eddp.co/u/iqV1GZmG

    Core Internal
    Bulkheads: Keep this stock. Nobody's going to be shooting at you, so improvements here only just increase mass

    Power plant: buy the smallest A-class reactor that powers everything you need. Higher-rated reactors have better thermal efficiency, important when scooping fuel. Otherwise, get the smallest one that suits your needs.

    Thrusters: If skipping out on the SRV, just get the lightest ones that still permit your vessel to move. If you will be landing on planets, though, I'd suggest the biggest D-class engines you can get to improve handling around large, immobile objects such as moons.

    Frame shift drive: Get the biggest A-class money can buy, and engineer it to death. This is the most important factor for jump range, is how good of an FSD you have.

    Life support: D-class to save on mass. If your canopy is compromised out among the lonely stars, more emergency oxygen just means more time to look out and contemplate the stars before you die.

    Power distributor: If landing on planets, the lightest one that doesn't go red on Coriolis; if your distributor doesn't have a large enough engine capacitor, you can't boost. If not landing on planets, 1D.

    Sensors: D-class to save mass.

    Optional Internal
    Essential "Optional" modules
    Fuel scoop: Big. For an AspX, while I've been using 6B, a 5A should probably suffice and clear up the size-6 bay.

    Advanced Discovery Scanner: Lets you find planets and other objects.

    Detailed Surface Scanner: Lets you perform detailed scans of objects, essential to getting maximum value out of high-value worlds like earth-likes.

    Optional "Might Be Nice" modules
    Planetary Vehicle Hangar: Lets you carry around an SRV. Definitely hurts jump range some, as a 2G hangar with SRV loaded adds 8 tons of mass. Still, gives you a nice break from jump-scoop-scan-jump tedium.

    AFMU (Auto Field Maintenance Unit): Massless, lets you repair modules if you get careless and ding up your ship. Essential if using neutron/white-dwarf boosts, as those will damage your FSD. Can be restocked in the field via synthesis, requiring elements that are most easily obtained in an SRV.

    Cargo bay: Lets you carry some stuff you find out exploring, particularly occupied escape pods. Massless by itself, but each unit of cargo adds a ton.

    Shield generator: helps avoid collision damage when landing on planets or back in occupied space. Very recommended if you have an SRV. Get the smallest D-class that still works on your vessel.

    Fuel transfer limpet controller: Lets you refuel other explorers who might have run out of fuel among the distant stars. If you have this, you must have a cargo bay with at least one fuel transfer limpet inside.

    Fighter bay (Anaconda only): Lets you fly a ship-launched fighter around on planets without risking your Anaconda. Kinda heavy, though.

    Hardpoints: Maybe one small mining laser if you want to prospect for elements in belts and rings. More important if you don't have an SRV. No dedicated weapons; there's nobody to shoot!

    Optional external:
    Heat sink launcher: gives you more time to get away from a star if you slip and wind up in a tactical face plant.

    Frame shift wake scanner: Lets you scan wakes for data needed by Felicity Farseer and Elvira Martuuk.

    #8: If you're out of fuel, call in the Fuel Rats, who will come in and help you out. Try not to need them, but they're there.

    #9: If in a new vessel, land on a couple planets as practice first before heading out; GeorgeOfJungle is my second AspX, after I crashed the first straight into a planet because I overestimated its handling.

    #10: At some point, you absolutely have to go far above or below the plane of the galaxy; the views are stunning outside the disc.

    #11: Try runs to closer destinations first, like Coalsack Nebula, or California, or Jellyfish. Keep in mind that it can easily be weeks getting to Sag A* or Colonia, depending on how much time you have to play and how often you stop to scan or land on planets.

  5. #5

    Thanks!

    Thanks for the props guys. I was a little nervous putting out my first post. Glad to see some folks liked it.

    SillySMS - Great stuff you added thanks for the extra info!

  6. #6
    Excellent guide, well written

    There's one thing I disagree with though.
    Originally Posted by SQL_VarChar View Post (Source)
    Downgraded or Eliminated Extra Weight
    The number one mistake I made on my trip was to not lighten my load before I left. This will be a hard one for some of you to get your head around so I’ll just come out with it: you don’t need any weapons, cargo space, SRV’s, or similar on your trip to Sag A*. I read several articles that said this in a variety of ways but didn’t believe it. I thought I needed to protect myself out in the black, I needed space to carry cargo, and I certainly was going to land on planets to explore with my SRV.

    NO, NO, AND NO.

    All of this stuff sounds great (and may be things you want to take on your second trip to Sag A*) but it is all extra weight that drags down your jump range. After your 300th jump you will be burned out.

    When I started I had an Asp Explorer loaded up with weapons, some cargo space, and an SRV. My unladen (without any cargo on board and a full tank of fuel) jump range was 18.68ly (light years). Every 1000ly would take 54 jumps. After I was finally able to get to Colonia (the only place with stations that have the ability to re-outfit a ship) I managed to strip off nearly everything and get my jump range to 26.74ly which translated into about 38 jumps every 1000ly. I shaved off 16 jumps.

    That may not seem like a lot but consider that the straight-line distance from Sol to Sag A* is 25,900ly. With my heavier build, it would have taken 1,387 jumps. Using my lighter build it would only take 967 jumps. And that is one way.
    This is a personal preference of course, but I found exploring a planet after 5,000 LY or so would break up the monotony of the honk scoop jump routine. I always bring an SRV so I can check out some funky planet I found.

    Totally agree about weapons. And if you have cargo space left, see if you can replace it with an AFMU which don't have any weight.

  7. #7
    First timer on PS4, about 800ly out from Polo Harbour at the moment.

    Some time around 24+ hours ago, it appears every stop along the Colonia Connection Highway and the majority of Colonia bubble itself, went into lockdown. I was under the impression lockdowns applied only to a single system at a time. Does that mean theres a (possibly hostile) player faction doing aggressive BGS stuff all along the Colonia highway & bubble?

    I was hoping to reach Colonia tonight, but if the lockdown is going to last a while I might plot a more indirect route and scan more systems while I wait.

  8. #8
    Holy hell! Well done sir, this is an absolutely stunning writeup and it's going straight into my sticky "Best of Forum" thread just as soon as I've finished writing this.
    (edit: added - right there under "Exploration" in the "Stuff for new players" section)

    A few points I'd like to add.

    1) Like Ziggy, unless you're racing (more on this in a second) I'd personally take an SRV. However you cut it, it's going to be a LONG trip (it took me just over 15hrs to get there when I did it and around 2 months to get back). Yes it will add weight and reduce your jump range but chances are you will a) get slightly bored of the jump/scoop/scan routine and b) see some beautiful planets that you'll wish you could land on and explore further.

    2) As far as stopping along the way, again it's not definitive (not even sure if it's up to date) but there's a list of waypoints on the way to Colonia (which is kind of on the way to Sag A*) over here:

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...tion-Route-Map

    3) On the subject of RACING! ... as you say, when you get there don't forget to pop in to the Sag A* visitors list. However, before you set off, if you've gone to all the trouble of outfitting your ship for maximum jump range, why not think about actually racing to Sagittarius A*? The Buckyball Racing Club (and the original Buckyball Run A* before that) has a LONG tradition of racing to Sagittarius A*. There's a regularly maintained set of entry rules, scoreboards and race commentary over in the A* Challenge thread.

    Oh, and before you do that, why not watch the utterly epic series of videos by Esvandiary (Cmdr Alot) documenting his ongoing endeavours to remain the fastest man in the galaxy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcHa...CNshAuwE-_lTb0




  9. #9
    Originally Posted by SillySMS View Post (Source)
    Nice guide. I'm in a mostly similar position; about a couple weeks ago, after two trial runs, I set out along the Road to Colonia, went from there to Sagittarius A*, and am now about 15k Ly from the bubble.

    In general, I was probably a little bit more prepared; while I haven't been playing for more than about a month, I've been in the Galactic Academy Discord channel, and was overall quite willing to ask them for advice and look stuff up.

    My advice that would add to or disagree with yours:

    etc
    And an excellent supplement to the OP! Repped.

  10. #10
    If you're starting out and on a budget, consider also the Dolphin as an alternative to the Diamondback Explorer - it's a slower jumping ship (although it still has a jump range that's among the highest in the game) but it can fit a better fuel scoop by comparison with its jump drive, so you refuel faster. And it's a nice luxurious ship with space for a passenger cabin.

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post (Source)
    This is a personal preference of course, but I found exploring a planet after 5,000 LY or so would break up the monotony of the honk scoop jump routine. I always bring an SRV so I can check out some funky planet I found.
    Totally agree. Of course there's also the benefit of collecting Jumponium from the surface too. I think for many folks, SRVs are part of the whole exploration package. But it's certainly optional, and when you're starting out, it's hard to drop enough mass to get a nice jump range.

    Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post (Source)
    Totally agree about weapons.
    What's hilarious is that lately, I've been breaking a bunch of typical explorer rules. I ended up putting guns back onto my Asp, when I realized that I could engineer them to really low mass, and do so while keeping my jump range over 50. So they're not a complete no-no, but a trade-off that will most likely not do anything for you. I'm doing it for the "cool" factor, not the expectation of using them! LOL.

  12. #12
    Excellent guide.
    AFMUs are great for repairing accidental supercruise escapes at high velocity.
    I luckily installed them for my recent trip to Colonia and had to use them 300ly away because I pressed my supercruise toggle switch without next system selected thinking I was jumping... oops! FSD totalled.
    They saved me losing 140mil of data and first discoveries.