BASICS: Docking At Orbital Stations - #00050
Having spent countless hours at 'newbie stations', I have seen quite a few... ahmmmm... interesting docking manoeuvres. That's why I thought about scribbling down a few tips and trips about docking for beginners and pros.
First part of docking at an orbital station is the approach in SuperCruise. Like in ancient earth's atmospheric aviation, a good approach to the landing area is half the job. Coming in from a weird angle can ruin everything.
Approaching an OUTPOST, there's not much to do. Just stick to the 8-second-rule (lower throttle to lowest blue setting when timer goes down to 8 seconds for not overshooting) and drop when the blue message tells you so.
Approaching BIGGER ORBITAL STATIONS, you need to take into account that these only got one entrance.
Ocellus and Orbis (the 'ball on a stick' type of stations) make it quite easy for you: Just try to align yourself in a way, that makes you approach the 'ball' in as straight a line as possible. This will place you near main entrance and you will only have to do small corrections in your path to enter station later on.
Coriolis type and Asteroid Bases differ here as you won't see a clear indication for the main entrance's position until you are aligned with it. If you don't see an entrance, at first follow the 'the mail slot is always facing the planet somehow' rule. Just try to fly into the gap between the (mostly present) planet and the station, and you will soon see an entrance to line up with.
Outside the station
When near the station in normal speed mode, take your time for orientating yourself.
Do you see the station?
Do you see the main entrance?
Are you hostile or wanted? Take a look at your fuel gauge's status display.
You need to be closer than 7.5km in order to request landing clearance. If you're 100% legal and not hostile, you should get your clearance as soon as possible. If you're a law abiding CMDR, make it a habit to FIRST GET A CLEARANCE before doing anything else.
If you're *cough* not a 100% white hat *cough*, you should read about sneaking in:
... read more on page 2