How to approach a station faster? (D > 100Ls)

Automatic cruise is too slow, it's time to optimise!

Question: how to make supercruise faster?
Possibilities:
1. Emergency drop.
2. Hitting a planet.
3. Using gravitational wells to slow down.

1. Slow.
Can it be optimised? Yes:
Emergency drop is fast when FSD boot time is upgraded to G5.
Upgrading range of FSD is more efficient in nearly most of the cases.
Not choosing FSD range is losing too much value.
Not a good solution in most of scenarios.

2. Same problem as #1. Also hitting a planet is not always easy when speed > 20 Ls.
Not much time saved vs time lost. Less control over ship than #1.
Can it be optimised? Not much. Only faster FSD boot sequence will give some benefit.
More problems than #1, same rewards.
Not a good solution in most scenarios.

3. It is possible to get a big reduce in travel speed when done right.
simple.png
Problem:
Requires a lot of precission.
When overshot/undershot there is a big loss of time.
Risk/reward far from optimal.
Can it be optimised? Yes.
Changing approach route and getting better thrusters.

advanced.png
When approaching stations this way gravity is constantly slowing the ship down.
Speed is still under full control.
If going too fast and timer is getting close to 3s one can make the spiral widerand make some distance.
If going to slow one can throttle up a bit .

Tested on DBX.
Approach time in a straight line ~900Ls throttling to 75% when timer shows 6s : ~120s.
Approach time in a spiral line ~900Ls throttling to 0% when timer shows 5 s: ~100s.

About 17% more effective.
 
I almost always go in flat out, when the "Slow Down" thing comes up I throw it out into a spiral around the planet looking to come up underneath the station, lined up right on the slot.
The trick is to stay out of the gravity well enough so you don't spend 4 years trying to claw your way the final few mKM to the station
 
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At 80% of your journey go 75% throttle (for anything under 4000ls), deselect your target, emergency jump at 999km-700km depending on responsiveness. I can get within 19km of the station but I'm getting better. It's all about feel. Feel the processing power of your computer. Feel the lag of the server. Feel that crumb under the j key slowing down your double tap. Feel the 1/10th of a second your brain takes to react. Mix the feeling in a blender and practice until you're drunk. Make sure you drink every day.
 
Automatic cruise is too slow, it's time to optimise!

Question: how to make supercruise faster?
Possibilities:
1. Emergency drop.
2. Hitting a planet.
3. Using gravitational wells to slow down.

1. Slow.
Can it be optimised? Yes:
Emergency drop is fast when FSD boot time is upgraded to G5.
Upgrading range of FSD is more efficient in nearly most of the cases.
Not choosing FSD range is losing too much value.
Not a good solution in most of scenarios.

2. Same problem as #1. Also hitting a planet is not always easy when speed > 20 Ls.
Not much time saved vs time lost. Less control over ship than #1.
Can it be optimised? Not much. Only faster FSD boot sequence will give some benefit.
More problems than #1, same rewards.
Not a good solution in most scenarios.

3. It is possible to get a big reduce in travel speed when done right.
View attachment 174087
Problem:
Requires a lot of precission.
When overshot/undershot there is a big loss of time.
Risk/reward far from optimal.
Can it be optimised? Yes.
Changing approach route and getting better thrusters.

View attachment 174088
When approaching stations this way gravity is constantly slowing the ship down.
Speed is still under full control.
If going too fast and timer is getting close to 3s one can make the spiral widerand make some distance.
If going to slow one can throttle up a bit .

Tested on DBX.
Approach time in a straight line ~900Ls throttling to 75% when timer shows 6s : ~120s.
Approach time in a spiral line ~900Ls throttling to 0% when timer shows 5 s: ~100s.

About 17% more effective.
That's a question for Buckyball Racers.

Gravitational well braking works very well if you manage to put your destination behind a gravity well (moon behind main body or station behind main body)
Spiraling towards your target will also help you control the speed and brake effeciently

Or use a SCA and engage it when the mark hits 5s or even less if the destination is in a bigger gravity well

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxUfwJl0yjU
 
Tested on DBX.
Approach time in a straight line ~900Ls throttling to 75% when timer shows 6s : ~120s.
Approach time in a spiral line ~900Ls throttling to 0% when timer shows 5 s: ~100s.
With a ship as agile in supercruise as a DBX you should be able to save more than 20s on most destinations with practice - try waiting until 4s on the timer (and maybe 3s with a DBX) to slow down and start the spiral.

I've managed to start out behind someone doing a 75%-6 approach, mess up my approach so badly I emergency dropped on the planet's rings, and still get to the station before them (which also shows that you've got a fair bit of margin of error even if you do mess up the approach for it to still be at least a bit faster)

(Really the big advantage is not the speed, it's that it requires you to touch the controls in supercruise and actually play the game, and therefore makes the process of getting from A to B at least somewhat interesting)
 
Also, a way to speed up the straight-in approach - not as fast as full gravity-braking, but still faster than "blue all the way to drop" - you will notice in your lower left HUD panel, while making a 6s approach, that your speed "goes blue" well before your distance does. About 1.5-2 seconds after it does, nail the throttle at 100%. Your speed wont get out of the safe drop zone before your distance drops into it and it can shave as much as 10 seconds off the final and slowest parts of the approach. You WILL get a "slow down" warning but it will be replaced by "safe to disengage" as soon as you get close enough - assuming you kept it on course for those last few seconds.

Now, there are ways you can mess this up.

Firstly, you will have less than half a second between getting the "safe disengage" message and overshooting. This can be an advantage if there is somebody rolling in on your six to interdict you while you are on final, because letting the overshoot happen while pulling a max-rate pitch will snatch your rear aspect away from their interdictor or alternately if they have managed to establish a tether already, if they did it after you throttled up you should be able to stay on course for the couple of seconds needed to complete your drop. They will still follow you into normal space, of course but they will have to take you on under the stations guns if they still want a piece of you.

The second way to mess it up is to be deceived by an approach course that is too close to the planet. That can slow you down sooner than the final approach does and so you throttle up too soon, when there's still a "fast zone" between you and the station. Keep half an eye on that lower-left panel to avoid this, if your speed looks like it's about to climb out of the safe drop ranges before the distance gets there, throttle back for only a second or two. That will get you back on profile.

Not as rapid as full gravity-braking but much easier to accomplish (the timing and navigation is less finicky) and still faster than bimbling straight in on a bog-standard 6s approach.
 
Why are you not using the Supercruise Assist fast-drop, if speed matters that much? Wanting to do it the old-fashioned way? Not wanting to give up a size 1 slot? Going to a planetary base?

For an orbiting station: set SA to manual throttle, select target, approach at 100% throttle, drop to 75% at 7 seconds. Then wait until you're 20ls from the target, accelerate to 100%, drop back to 75% at 4 seconds. And hope that it isn't behind the planet.
 
When on an agile ship, I have the habit of going to 75% when 5 seconds away, and trying to use the planet to brake. Even if you fail, you'll be pretty close when you turn around.
 
Why are you not using the Supercruise Assist fast-drop, if speed matters that much? Wanting to do it the old-fashioned way? Not wanting to give up a size 1 slot? Going to a planetary base?
Sometimes there is no free slot for a SCA
Buckyball racing does not allow automation.

Better to know there are other options than SCA (and SCA was a pretty recent addition).

But yea, i usually rely on SCA on my ships that are prone to do a lot of docking (my sightseeing python, trade runners, etc)
 
I have tested many times just how long it takes to get to safe to disengage from the point of applying 75% throttle at 0:07ttg - as long as there is no strong gravitation (like gas giant) and not traversing the gravity well of the parent body - it takes an average of 1m 12s - nothing like the figures in the OP.

I find that using the 75% throttle by 0:06 ttg gives a predictable result - using g-field braking does not for me - ymmv.

P.S. No SCA - waste of a slot.
 
The other part of it is the stations (not outposts) always seem to face the body they're orbiting (this doesn't seem to make much sense to me, but they do). So if you drop out after approaching it from behind you have to fly past it before you can turn around and dock.
 
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