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Starfield – How To Upgrade And Modify Ships

You’ll be able to upgrade and modify ships in Starfield. As such, you won’t be stuck with the default look of the spacecraft for long. There are numerous options and parts that you can install, as well as various facets to consider. Our Starfield ship upgrades and modules guide discusses everything you need to know about this feature.

Table of Contents [hide]

  • How to upgrade and modify ships in Starfield
    • The most important ship stats and modules
    • The simple and straightforward route with ship upgrades
    • More customizations and modules via the Ship Builder
    • Potential errors when modifying ships

How to upgrade and modify ships in Starfield

You can upgrade and modify ships in Starfield by talking to a ship services technician NPC. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Talk to any ship services technician and select “I’d like to view and modify my ships.”
  • LB and RB let you select from those that you already own/those that you’ve captured.
  • Pressing the A button opens the upgrade screen.
  • Pressing the X button opens the Ship Builder screen.

The most important ship stats and modules

The screen will then show you an overview of your ship. The most important stats include:

  • Hull – Your ship’s health points. This is the total combined HP of all installed parts.
  • Reactor class – Refers to the overall power generated by your spacecraft (i.e. the horizontal bar and its pips). By default, you can only make use of Class-A reactors, as Class-B and Class-C require a higher Piloting skill.
  • Crew capacity – This is affected by a ship’s cockpit, habs, reactors, weapons, and more. You can learn all the details in our ship crew capacity guide.
  • Jump distance/grav drive – This is denoted in light years when you fast travel from one star system to another. The primary module is your grav drive, though this is lowered by the ship’s mass (i.e. the total weight of all modules that are installed).
  • Shield – Ships can only have one shield module.
  • Weapons – There are three types: lasers, ballistics, and missiles. You can have multiple weapon systems installed, but you’re limited to three total makes and models. For instance, you can have several KE-20 Cannons, EMP-80 Suppressors, and Dragon 221 MW Lasers. However, you can’t add a fourth, such as a Spark 750 Suppressor.
  • Cargo – The total mass of materials and resources that can fit in your ship’s storage. You can learn more in our ship cargo guide.
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The ship menu shows the basic stats.
The ship menu shows the basic stats.

The simple and straightforward route with ship upgrades

The Starfield ship upgrade method is relatively straightforward. Once a ship is selected, press the A button to see the next screen. This allows you to change the engines, shield generator, grav drives, reactor, and the three weapon systems.

For non-weapon modules, the upgrade mechanic only lets you choose variants from the same manufacturer. For example, if a ship already has the White Dwarf 2000 engine, then the only upgrades are the 2010, 2020, and 2030 engines. It’s like having an Nvidia RTX 3090, but you can only get the 3090 Ti or 40 series cards. You can’t pick anything from AMD.

The ship upgrade function is fairly limited, but you can get everything sorted out quickly.
The ship upgrade function is fairly limited, but you can get everything sorted out quickly.

More customizations and modules via the Ship Builder

For those who truly want to get into the thick of things, there’s Starfield’s Ship Builder feature. With a ship selected, press the X button to see the next screen. This is more of a freeform customization method, where you can mix and match different kinds of modules. Take note of the attachment slots (i.e. circular icons) to ensure that each part “snaps” when placed next to another section.

Apart from those mentioned earlier (i.e. reactor, shield generator, weapon systems, grav drive, and cargo hold), you’ll be able to make changes to the following:

  • Cockpit – The ship is limited to one cockpit.
  • Habs – These can significantly increase crew capacity; some versions also add passenger slots for passenger ferry missions.
  • Bays – A single landing bay is required at the bottom and stern (i.e. back) of the ship.
  • Gears – You’ll need at least a couple of landing gears at the bottom of your ship.
  • Dockers – One docker is required, and it’s placed at the topmost section of the ship.
  • Fuel Tanks – Add a few so you can jump to more distant star systems.
  • Structural – These aren’t just cosmetic parts. They can also be used to attach other fixtures, like weapon systems.
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Left: Habs increase crew capacity and passenger slots; Right: You can choose different kinds of weapons.

Potential errors when modifying ships

Once you’re done with your Starfield ship upgrade and modification picks, you can press the start button to finalize your changes. There’s a chance that you might see errors. Here are some of the most common:

  • Unattached modules – Any modules that aren’t attached will cause an error.
  • Ship length – Ships that are over 28 meters won’t be able to land on surfaces.
  • Ship reactor class – Certain parts might be for Class-B or Class-C reactors, but you only have one that’s Class-A.
  • Misaligned landing gear/bay – Landing gears and bays should be at the bottom of the ship. No other parts can be placed at a lower height.
  • Minimum landing gear count – Depending on the size of the ship, you might need additional landing gears.
  • Misaligned docker – The docker should be at the topmost part of the ship. There should be enough space so that it’s not squeezed in between other modules.
  • Maximum weapon count – As mentioned earlier, you’re limited to three weapon models.
  • Excess engine power usage – Having too many engines will drain power significantly, especially if you have a low-end reactor.
  • Needs more grav jump thrust – If the ship is too heavy, you’ll need better grav drives, or you need to remove modules to reduce mass.
  • Low maneuverability – If you added too many parts (i.e. cargo holds), the ship will be sluggish and slower. You can still make do with this setup, though be ready for any mishaps that can happen during combat.
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That’s all you need to know about how to upgrade and modify ships in Starfield. There’s a big galaxy out there, so go ahead and explore the unknown with your cool spacecraft.

Starfield is a massive game with numerous planets to explore. For other tips and tactics, you can visit our guides hub.

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