Exploring the universe in Elite Dangerous was an incredibly engrossing adventure. I played a fair bit when the game first came out. More expansions have been added over time that made the game much more fun to play, mostly by adding new activities. The exploring of the universe, as vast and empty as it is, can be great fun. And this game has become much more than just cataloging stars you find. Any planet you find via the ship navigation that has a blue semi-circle around it can be landed on. This feature was added in the Horizons expansion.
When you want to land on planets in Elite Dangerous, you can follow this guide for some tips. Landing on a planetary surface requires more ship management than dropping from supercruise or other maneuvers. It’s a more complex system that requires fine control with your ship. Here is the basic process for how to land on planets in Elite Dangerous:
- Look for a landable planet and fly over to it in supercruise. Drop out when close enough to enter the atmosphere.
- There will be a marker on your HUD to keep your ship aligned to, pay attention to the readouts of degrees and bearing. The speed at which you do this will vary based on planetary gravity. Lower G planets require less speed to line up with. If you come in too steep, you can fail to drop out of cruise.
- Line up with the ground and your ship at a 45-degree angle. Keep your angle shallow and speed slow. There is a fair bit of forgiveness with the angle, just don’t come in too sharp.
- When you line up properly and approach your desired planetary landing site at the right speed, you will drop into the atmosphere. When you get to at least 20 km above the planet’s surface, the ship will finally drop out of supercruise. The ship will slow down a lot, so be prepared to take over the manual landing.
- Slow down your speed to a glide and keep on the blue line around the planetary body that shows up on your HUD. Keep lined up with that line to land properly. Keep your angle of descent around 40 degrees to line up properly.
- If you’re landing at a port, you need to request landing permission to get a docking collar. There will be a large marked open area to land in when you do this. Glide over and land like normal when doing this.
Handling this whole thing is a lot easier if you’re using a full HOTAS setup on PC. Trying to wrangle the landing maneuver on a controller is very cumbersome. I may have crashed more than once while trying to learn how to do this. Make sure to practice the timing as well, as sometimes you will cut your speed too soon or too late to get things right.