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Evacuating Stations

By Winter Ihernglass (March 2023)


Evacuating burning stations in Elite: Dangerous is an awesome experience (especially in VR); is a good way to build up local minor faction rep; and is a great way to build up Federation or Empire rank when there are affiliated minor factions present.  It is also a good way to fill up on Biotech Conductors, Modified Embedded Firmware, and Exquisite Focus Crystals. Unfortunately, there are not always any stations to evacuate.

New in Update 14

Update 14 added evacuation missions to small space outposts and planetary ports, some of which are under active attack! These also can be over 100 Ly away from their rescue megaship. So these aren’t as efficient at money nor rank as the regular kind. But they are certainly great for role play and participating in this event!

Finding U14 Evacuation Missions

You have two options: One, on the galaxy map, you can enable the Thargoid War filter and look for systems under Thargoid Invasion or Thargoid Alert. Any ports in those systems that are NOT abandoned will have passenger evacuation missions. They will also have cargo missions if you have cargo space.

☠️ Danger! ☠️ Stations with the red icon are under active Thargoid attack! Stations with the orange flame icon will attract Thargoids eventually.

Third-Party Tools

Or, you can use one of the following third-party tools to direct your efforts:

Building for U14 Evacuation Missions

There is ☠️extreme danger☠️ in the systems. Not only will you likely get hyperdicted on the way in, but also you are likely to get interdicted in supercruise and immediately attacked. Note that systems only under Thargoid Alert are safer, but hyperdiction on the way in is still possible. To survive, you need:

Builds below marked Thargoid Safe are safe in the hands of an attentive commander. Full engineering isn’t necessary, but you do need enough to survive as mentioned above.

Evacuation missions in Update 14 seem to feature passengers in multiples of 9, with a cap of 80.

Cargo missions for wounded personnel are also available in various quantities, from the regular mission board.

Therefore, some of the builds below have passenger capacity in a multiple of 9, and fill the rest with cargo racks.

Regular Evacuation Missions (Large Damaged Stations)

Finding Regular Evacuation Missions

In-game, there is a report in Galnet (on the right-hand ship panel) labeled Thargoid War that will list any burning stations. (This may have disappeared in U14)

Out of game, watch Inara's list, but note that any megaships that appear there cannot be evacuated; only real stations can. (Still needs updating for U14)

To determine if you will receive Empire or Federation rank for completing evacuation missions, you will need to search for the system on Inara or EDDB and check the superpower affiliation of all minor factions in the system.

Building for “Old” Evacuation Missions

You will need:

In “old” style evacs, the rescue ship is only 1-2 Mm away, so there’s no need to use a large ship for this: if you continuously evacuate people, then in about a Python or above you will drain the passenger lounge of missions and be stuck waiting to fill up.



Cost (Mcr)


Thargoid Safe





Dolphin (minimum engineering)




Asp Explorer



Asp Explorer (minimum engineering)




Asp Explorer (full engineering)



Clipper (full engineering)




Krait Phantom



Krait Phantom (minimum engineering)




Krait Mk II (full engineering)






Python (minimum engineering)




Python (full engineering)



Best medium ⭐









Anaconda (full engineering)




Cutter (full engineering)



Best large ⭐

Evacuating Damaged Stations

  1. Shipyards in damaged stations are not active, so you will need to fly your rescue ship all the way there, or ship it to a nearby undamaged station. Stations merely under Thargoid Alert may have a shipyard.
  2. Update 14 scenarios: If you get hyperdicted, boost away until your FSD comes off cooldown. If you get interdicted, SUBMIT, boost away and reenter supercruise (if you can’t escape the mass lock, you will need to high wake out of the system). The Thargoids are instantly hostile, but don’t use a shutdown field.
  3. Fly your rescue ship to the damaged station and request docking. Autodock will not work at damaged stations.
  4. If needed, pop a heatsink while you dock. You will get a warning at 80 heat, but you don’t take any module damage til 100, and you don’t take hull damage until 150.
  5. Go to the passenger lounge – the display may flicker, this is normal – and take group evacuation missions. If you are prioritizing navy rank, then take missions that give the most rep+++ from the relevant minor faction(s).  Fill up your cabins until you can’t take any more.
  6. Target or plot to the rescue ship. For “old” evacs it is a megaship only 1-2 Mm away. For Update 14 missions, they can be 100-200 Ly away.
  7. Launch and leave the station, popping a heatsink as needed. Ignore any additional requests from your passengers.
  8. Dock at the rescue ship and turn in the missions at the passenger lounge. Restock, repair, and refuel as needed.
  9. Launch and repeat.


Why no docking computer?

Docking computers don’t work with damaged stations.

My Federation/Empire rank is 100%, am I losing rank?

No, but you can’t see it until you complete a rank-up mission. You can safely continue evacuating and find a rank-up mission later.

When do stations stop burning?

Whenever Frontier decides to stop them, which may or may not be related to Galnet stories or community goals. Usually they burn for one week, but there have been longer; and they almost always change on Thursdays with the weekly reset. With the Update 14 scenarios, stations seem to change based on player actions in 1-3 week timeframes.

What happens after a damaged station stops burning?

After a station stops burning, Galnet will list commodities you can sell to the station to contribute to fully repair it  (this may have disappeared in U14).  Operation Ida is a player group that coordinates this repair process.

What’s all this cargo floating around in large damaged stations?

If you want, you can collect the canisters floating inside the station, and turn them in at the megaship for missions or cash. This can take a bit, so bring a collector limpet controller(s), limpets, and heatsinks.  It’s good for roleplay but not as good for cash nor rank.

Clean Drives?

The heat reduction from Clean drives only applies when accelerating in normal space. At all other times (e.g. fuel scooping), the additional power usage actually makes them hotter than Dirty drives. So, they would be useful on a dedicated rescue ship, but that’s one of the very few times.

What happens to my ships and modules in a station when it is attacked?

All ships and modules are transferred to the nearby rescue megaship. When the megaship disappears, any ships and modules on it are transferred to the station.

What’s the best ship for evacuating stations?

The Python is the best. Although the Corvette can hold the most economy passengers, it’s overkill and not much better than the Anaconda anyway. In U14, the speed and shields of the Cutter makes it the best large.