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Whether you're boarding a space station to speak with important NPCs there or connecting to an enemy ship you'd like to steal for yourself, docking with other craft is something you'll need to do pretty often in Starfield. However, since the game never makes it directly clear how to do this, many players are a little confused about how docking and boarding works.
In the guide below, we go over everything you need to know about how to dock. This includes the full process of boarding both space stations and other ships, as well as some important details on conditions you have to meet before docking with a vessel is possible.
Starfield: How to dock with space stations
Of the two types of craft that you can dock with in Starfield, space stations like The Den are by far the easiest to board. To do so, you'll first need to use your target input to lock onto the station from afar. Then, you'll be presented with an option to hail it, which you'll sometimes need to do to get clearance from the station. You don't always have to hail a station before docking, but we recommend doing it anyway in the event that you do.
Once you've been acknowledged and have been told you're okay to dock, keep the station targeted and fly closer to it. As you approach, you'll be presented with a docking prompt. Press the input shown on-screen and a short docking cutscene will begin, signaling that you've now docked with the station. From there, you have the option to board the station, walk around your own ship, or undock.
Starfield: How to dock with ships
By docking with a hostile vessel and then boarding it to kill the crew, you can claim the ship for yourself and add it to your fleet. However, to do this, you'll first need to engage in space and ship combat and punch through your opponent's shields (preferably with lasers, as they're the most effective weapon against them). Once the shields are gone, the next step is locking onto the ship, entering Targeting Mode, and knocking out the vessel's engines.
While the enemy ship's movement is disabled, you'll need to quickly fly close to the enemy ship while it's targeted and press the input for the docking prompt as soon as it appears. If you wait too long, the opposing crew will repair their engines and you'll need to cripple them again before you can try docking.
Note that your opponent will still be able to turn their ship even when its engines are disabled, so you're likely going to take some fire as you move in to dock. Give extra power to your shields and use Ship Parts for quick repairs as necessary to ensure they don't destroy your starship as you approach theirs.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can't dock with a ship if there are other hostile vessels engaging you. Isolate the ship you want to board first, then attempt to dock with it.
In rare instances, you'll be presented with the option to ask if you can dock with a friendly ship while you're communicating with it. Convincing the other crew will likely require persuasion and passing speech checks, but if you succeed, you'll be able to board their ship and potentially take it for yourself without having to risk a space battle.
Starfield Premium Edition
Get your hands on Starfield early with the Premium Edition. This version contains several cosmetic items, instant access to the game's first DLC expansion when it comes out, and five days early-access to the full-game.