How to dock

Its great being able to fly in space, but you will also need to know how to land/dock on stations and outposts. Unfortunately its not an easy process and something you will need to learn at the start of the game. Later on buy a docking computer to help with this, however those are expensive for new players.

When you exit super-cruise, you will find yourself near a station/outpost - maybe 8-12km away. You will need to get in range (under 7km) to ask for permission to dock/land. Once close enough, you will need to bring up the contact panel (at the bottom left, or by pressing 1), then hit the tab for contacts, then scroll down to the station/outpost name then select it. Once you do, you should see the following a little menu pop-up;

Request docking permission

Now press enter and see if you get permission. Hopefully after a few seconds you will get permission to land. If not, it might be because the station/outpost was busy, so try asking again.

With permission given, you will be told to proceed to a certain landing-bay, and given a timer (around 10mins);

Proceed to landing-bay

Landing on stations

If we are landing on a station (a big structure), we first need to align ourselves with the station's door - the large blue rectangle. This can be a pain to find sometimes, however just remember that the door usually faces towards the planet. If the station is of the polyhedron style (the ones which look like a giant dice), the door direction is marked with a arrow, as shown below:

Polyhedron station landing door direction

This is what the station door looks like:

Align with station-door

Now throttle up (good idea to keep it under 100m/s when close) and head though the blue force-field (these force-fields keep the oxygen inside the station). Once pass the force-fields, you will see landing-pads marked with various numbers, like so;

Landing pads

So now its time to find our pad. So spin your ship around and look for the correct numbered pad. When found you it, you will need to fly towards it (keeping an eye on your speed and other ships). Bare in mind other ships are using the docking area, so try not to block the way. I highly recommend never using boost inside the station - it never ends well.

When you are close to it, the radar will change into small map showing where you are relative to the pad. I suggest at this time you deploy your landing gear (before trying to land). Ideally you want to be just above the centre then lower onto the platform. Align yourself with the middle (the docking circles will turn blue), then lower yourself down. You want to facing more or less north.

Aligning our ship to the landing-pad

If everything is okay, you should hear Docking successful.

Landing on an outpost

If you are landing on a outpost, then you dont need to fly through a door just find the landing pad. These are marked the same as stations, with a number on them. Once close enough you will get another small map showing your relative position on the pad. Its the same process of centring yourself, then lowing yourself down onto the pad.

Landing on a surface base/outpost

If the location you're trying to land is on a planet, then take a look at my other guide here. This covers the entry, fall and landing. I would only recommend attempted this when you are comfortable with landing on stations/outputs - as it more complex than docking/landing on stations/outposts.