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Elite: Dangerous players want to tame the galaxy, and they need your help

Fleet Carriers will make exploring the Milky Way faster, and safer starting June 9

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The team behind Elite: Dangerous announced Wednesday that it’s adding long distance Fleet Carriers to the game on June 9. It’s the signal that an ambitious group of in-game explorers have been waiting for, setting in motion their plan to make the Elite’s massive galaxy just a little bit safer. Called the Deep Space Support Array (DSSA), their initiative promises to be one of the most elaborate player-led expeditions in the game’s history.

Explorers, miners, merchants, and combat ships of all types are needed to support the effort, which is open to players on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. Participants have even made their own promotional video, which you can watch at the top of this post.

Elite takes place in a realistic recreation of the more than 400 billion star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy. The game world is so big, in fact, that players have only explored 0.042% of it since the game’s launch in 2015. It can take a single commander weeks to reach the edge, and they’re all alone once they arrive. One wrong move, and it’s game over.

The Fleet Carrier from Elite Dangerous
A Drake-class Fleet Carrier has room for 16 ships. With its 500 light-year range it cuts the time to travel from one side of the Milky Way to the other from weeks to just a few days.
Image: Frontier Developments

The DSSA plans to put a Fleet Carrier — and its vital repair and refit capabilities — in all of the game’s far flung regions. It’s an effort that will require dozens and dozens of ships in all. Each of those player-owned Carriers will also require a small fleet of ships to refuel them along the way.

That means the DSSA isn’t just a single expedition; it’s more than 100, complete with support crews.

There are already enough volunteers to purchase and fly the Carriers themselves, but additional support ships are needed. Players are being asked to sign up online via forum posts and through Discord channels.

A map of the Milky Way with a single route marked along the north/south axis. Individual dots mark where certain Fleet Carrier will break off and position themselves for the next year.
The current route of the Aphelion Expedition takes it through the galactic center, with individual Fleet Carriers breaking off and taking up station along the way.
Image: Commander Erimus Kamzel

There’s plenty of time to get involved, even for new players. The launch of individual DSSA Carriers is rolling out slowly, with some scheduled to leave as late as December. But one subset of Carriers is well underway, and will begin a staged launch in mid-June.

Called the Aphellion Expedition, the flotilla of 10 Carriers will include some of Elite’s most well-known personalities — including Commander Erimus Kamzel, the man behind the original expedition to one of Elite’s most distant bodies, Beagle Point.

A circular patch with black, red, and blue details shows a Fleet Carrier in orbit around a ringed planet.
Mission patch for DSSA Endeavour
A black and blue circular patch with a fleet carrier superimposed over a blue white star. Three Earth-like worlds hang in the distance.
Mission patch for DSSA King’s Pass.

Polygon will be joining the expedition by providing a support ship for DSSA #1, the Sleeper Service, which will be owned and piloted by Commander Qohen Leth. Its mission is to serve as the DSSA headquarters, while also supporting exploration of the thin field of stars thousands of light-years above the galactic center.

A woman in Greek robes stands before a stylized constellation. The circular patch is blue with gold around the edge.
Mission patch for DSSA Aristarchos.
A Kingfisher bird on a blue background. The patch is circular, with a navy blue background.
Mission patch for DSSA Sésame.

Other Fleet Carriers will continue on toward other regions — including The Abyss, continuing the work done during the Distant Worlds 2 expedition in 2019. Players interested in tagging along are encouraged to visit the official Frontier Developments forums for more information.

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