How to land on a base

If you have the Elite: Dangerous - Horizons add-on, you will be able to land on bases and planets. For starters we will need a planetary approach suite, and should be installed by default (if you have the add-on);

Showing the required equipment

Once you have the approach suite installed then you are ready to go. If you wish to drive a vehicle around on the surface, then you will need a planetary vehicle hangar. This hangar will swap one of your internal compartments for a place to store your vehicle(s). At the time of writing, there is only one type of vehicle - the SRV Scarab;

Installing a vehicle hangar

Now we have our equipment its time to look for somewhere to land. Unfortunately we can not land on all the planets, only those which are airless (and can not support life). It is rumoured that landing on populated planets will be released in a add-on later on. For now we can land on one of four types; Ice, Rock, Rock and Metallic. So now lets look for a place to land on. To do this bring up your sector map;

Showing which planets we can land on

If you notice there are some planets with a circle around them (like Eravate 2 (in the above picture) that has a blue circle around it). This means you can land on this planet, if no circle then you can not. If you hover over the planet, we get some options - one being a planetary map. This new map show us what is on the surface of the planet, such as any bases and their security (more pluses, the higher the secuity). PoI or points of interest are not displayed on the planetary map;

Checking out a surface map of a planet

If you select the first option when hovering over a base, we can lock-on a target in the same way as a station. Some bases have higher security than others; meaning some may not allow to you land or even get near (as marked with the pluses). So now search for a suitable base. Once done, we need to head towards the planet (as normal).

When landing on a planet, we will go through a couple of different stages before we can land on the surface or a base. The first stage is same as normal - enter into frame-shift-mode (or as I like to call it, fast travel). When we approach a planet I would slow-down a bit more than normal (but not too much). If you your target circle is dotted, then it means its behind (so you will need to travel around the planet, not head straight towards it). Once you have the base in the correct position, head towards it.

When we are close enough, our HUD will change to something like this;

Looking at our changed GUI

There are two pieces of information which are very useful; the angle of descent and our altitude (or distance from the surface). If we are going too fast, with a steep angle of descent we are likely to smash into the ground. On the first stage we dont need to worry about such things, just head towards your target.

After get closer (roughly at 32km), we will enter into the second phase - glide mode. In this mode your ship will still be moving fairly fast, so we want to take some care. If we head directly towards our target continuously, we will smash into the ground; equally if we dont loose any altitude, then it will take much longer to reach the planet surface in the third stage. Ideally we want to reach around 5-7km before the end of glide stage.

After a short amount of time, we should enter into the third stage. In this stage our ship will travel at an much slower speed, where we can either ask for docking permission or land on the surface. If you have a docking computer, it can take over and land the ship for you (if you have permission).

Docking is very much the same as landing on a station or outpost. After given a lot pad number, we need to find the correct landing pad then lower ourself onto it.