Exploration is undoubtedly one of the most appealing things about Elite Dangerous: Horizons. As a space simulation game that includes a vast galaxy with billions of stars, Elite gives players a chance to see the universe like few others. To truly explore the Milky Way, however, you’ll need a decent spaceship for exploration. The best exploration ships in Elite Dangerous: Horizons enable you to travel across the universe faster and more efficiently than the rest and are well equipped for explorer missions.
When it comes to choosing an exploration ship in Elite Dangerous: Horizons, jump range is the most important thing to consider. The higher a ship’s maximum jump range, the fewer Hyperspace jumps you’ll need to make to reach distant stars. The number of internal compartments a spaceship has is also important due to the greater number of additional accessories explorer pilots need, such as Fuel Scoops and SRVs. In addition, spaceships with larger fuel tanks are better for explorer pilots who make long journeys across the galaxy. These are the best exploration ships in Elite Dangerous: Horizons that meet the requirements of explorer pilots.
Orca is a large and luxurious passenger-liner ship with an appealing design. This is a spaceship that has been specifically designed for passenger contract exploration missions. As one of the few ships in Elite Dangerous that can equip luxury cabins, this is one of the best vessels for completing passenger contracts in the game. Orca is quite pricey at 48,539,887 CR, but it’s the best in the passenger transportation business.
This spaceship’s jump range can be maxed out to an impressive 36.17 light-years (without engineering). It also packs in nine internal compartments, including three class five ones, which is a good number. Orca’s 32-ton fuel tank is only bettered by a few (much more pricey) spaceships. Therefore, Orca scores highly as an exploration ship.
- Default top speed: 308 m/s
- Default boost speed: 390 m/s
- Cargo space: 72 tons
- Armor: 396
- Shield: 233 MJ
2. Diamondback Explorer
The Diamond Explorer is a relatively cheap exploration ship that’s great value for explorer pilots. It’s a dual-purpose spaceship that has been designed for both exploration and combat purposes. The spaceship costs 1,894,760 CR, which makes it a real bargain for one with some impressive specifications.
Diamond Explorer’s most impressive specification is undoubtedly its outstanding 41.61 ly maximum jump range. That jump range makes it one of the very best ships in the game for jumping between the stars. On top of that, it incorporates a decent 32t fuel tank that will enable you to travel further without having to stop to refuel.
Explorer pilots who like to partake in some combat will also appreciate this ship’s weapon hardpoints. Although it only includes three weapon hardpoints, one large and two medium ones give this spaceship some serious firepower. So, this isn’t a bad option for lightweight PvE (player vs. environment) bounty hunting either.
- Internal Compartments: Eight
- Default top speed: 251 m/s
- Default top boost speed: 328 m/s
- Default cargo space: 12 tons
- Armor: 270
- Shield: 131 MJ
3. Asp Explorer
The Asp Explorer is among the most flexible spaceships in Elite: Dangerous that’s ideal for exploration. This is a medium-sized ship with considerable outfitting potential, which makes it a popular choice among Elite players. You won’t need to save up too long to snap up an ASP Explorer for 6,661,153 credits either.
The Asp’s jump range of 38.19 ly ranks it among the best spaceships in the Elite universe for Hyperspace jumping. For outfitting, Explorer incorporates eight compartments in total, which is perfectly adequate for equipping essential exploration modules. One of those is a class six one you can equip a decent Fuel Scoop with. Its 32t fuel tank is also more than adequate for long-distance space travel.
This spaceship’s cockpit also has a novel unobstructed glass canopy. The Asp Explorer’s glass canopy provides unique panoramic views of space no other Elite spaceship matches. You’ll appreciate that novelty when you press the middle mouse button to look up, left, and right in free view mode.
- Default top speed: 254 m/s
- Default maximum boost speed: 345 m/s
- Default cargo space: 38 tons
- Armor: 378
- Shield: 152 MJ
The Anaconda is one of the very best exploration and combat ships in the Elite Dangerous universe. It’s a massive ship that’s the third most expensive one in the game at 146,969,450 credits. However, Anaconda is still one of the crème da la crème spaceships in Elite, which justifies its hefty price tag.
Anaconda boasts impressive specifications across the board. Its max 41.45 ly jump range is only bettered by the Diamondback Explorer, but Anaconda has a better range with engineering enhancements. The Anaconda has a whopping 12 internal compartments for additional equipment. One of those compartments is a class seven one for which you can fit a top-notch Fuel Scoop. It’s also got a large 32-ton fuel tank, eight weapon hardpoints (one huge and three large), and a further eight utility mounts.
- Default top speed: 183 m/s
- Default top boost speed: 244 m/s
- Default cargo space: 114 t
- Armor: 945
- Shield: 362 MJ
5. Krait Phantom
Krait Phantom is a great multipurpose spaceship that’s particularly good for explorer pilots. This is a slightly stripped-down variation of its Krait MkII sister ship, which is a more combat-oriented vessel. With a more streamlined design, however, Phantom is a better choice for exploration. You can snap up this ship for 37,472,254 credits, which makes it cheaper than the MkII.
Like all the other best exploration ships in Elite Dangerous: Horizons, Phantom has a very decent jump range. Its max jump range of 34.79 light-years beats most alternative ships, but Phantom doesn’t compare quite so favorably with the likes of the Anaconda and Diamondback Explorer in that respect. With FSD (Frame Shift Drive) engineering, however, Phantom can eclipse Asp Explorer for jump range distance.
Phantom also has a good amount of internal compartment space. It incorporates a total of nine internal compartments for your exploration gear. Three of those compartments are class five and one is class six. Therefore, you can fit quite a lot of higher-class optional equipment on the Krait Phantom.
- Default top speed: 256 m/s
- Default top boost speed: 358 m/s
- Default cargo space: 82 t
- Armor: 324
- Shield: 260 MJ
- Fuel tank: 32 t
Dolphin is a passenger liner that’s a good budget option. Like other Kruger passenger liners, it has a stylish design and can equip luxury suite cabins. At1,337,330 credits, this is certainly a budget option well worth considering. If you can’t wait around saving for a more pricey exploration spaceship, go for the Dolphin.
This ship can Hyperspace jump a maximum of 35.10 light-years with upgrades, which is great for a cheap spaceship. It comes with nine internal compartments, which is one more than the Asp and Diamondback Explorer ships. Therefore, Dolphin has enough space for the essential exploration gear. Dolphin’s good default 290 m/s speed and 361 m/s boost are bonuses that make it a quicker spaceship for approaching stations and exiting their Mass Locks before jumping.
With its luxury suite cabins, you can utilize the Dolphin for VIP passenger contracts. Those VIP contracts offer high payouts and enhance Explorer rank. Thus, you can quickly recoup the Dolphin’s cost by completing passenger contracts with the ship.
- Default cargo space: 14 t
- Fuel tank: 16 t
- Armor: 198
- Shields: 143 MJ
- Hardpoints: Five (3x utility)
The above spaceships are the best exploration ships in Elite Dangerous: Horizons for propelling you across the Milky Way. Those are spaceships with great jump ranges, sizeable fuel tanks, and a good amount of internal storage for equipping exploration equipment.