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Chapter 9: Starships / Space Travel

Standard Navigation and Astrogation

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 290
Whether they’re patrol craft or battlecruisers, all starships are propelled through space by thrusters. The exact workings of these engines vary from starship to starship—some are technological, while others are a blend of magic and machine. See the navigate task of the Piloting skill (page 145) for information about using that skill to plot a correct course. Determine the approximate distance you wish to travel and roll using the travel times below to see how long it takes you to reach your destination, but note that the Game Master is the final arbiter of travel times and may shorten or lengthen them as she desires for the needs of the campaign.
  • Start Thrusters (1 Minute per Size Category): Though this is rarely an issue, a starship’s thrusters need a short amount of time to warm up before they are ready to be used. Most hangars and space docks require that a starship’s thrusters be deactivated after it lands or docks. However, a starship in orbit always has its thrusters active. A starship also needs to deactivate its thrusters to use its Drift engine (see below)— this requires no time.
  • Travel Point-to-Point on a Planet (1d4 Hours): Large and smaller starships can operate in a planet or planetoid’s atmosphere, and can travel between two areas on the same planet within reason (a starship isn’t generally equipped to be submerged underwater, for instance). The travel time depends on the distance between the two points. This amount of time can also be used to represent traveling between two vessels in different orbits around the same planet.
  • Go into Orbit or Land (1d2 Hours): It takes only a short amount of time for a Large or smaller starship to lift off from a planet’s or planetoid’s surface and enter orbit, or to make a controlled landing from orbit. Huge and larger starships can be placed in orbit around only a planet or planetoid, and the crew requires a shuttle or other conveyance to reach the surface.
  • Reach Satellite (1d8 Hours): From planetary orbit, it takes slightly longer for a starship to reach one of that planet’s satellite bodies (or vice versa) than it would take to land. This travel time depends partly on the size of the planet and the satellite’s orbit.
  • Travel In-System (1d6+2 Days): Traveling between two planets in the same star system fluctuates based on those planets’ relative positions at the time of travel.
  • Travel Between Systems: Traveling between two star systems via conventional thrusters is a daunting affair, taking decades at the very least. Only large colony starships or vessels with crews in suspended animation attempt such a journey.