How to land on planets in Elite Dangerous


Screenshot by Gamepur

Planetary landings have always been a dream of humankind, ever since the Lunar Landing in 1969. In Elite Dangerous, with the addition of the Horizons expansion, this has been made a reality in the game space. Allowing you to pick a planetary object, fly to it, and land. It can be an exhilarating experience your first time.

Once the landing is completed, you can then experience other activities on the planetary body’s surface to your heart’s content. Before getting to that, we first need to perform the landing itself. In this guide, we will go over the steps and necessary information to be aware of when performing your first landing.


Upon jumping into a system, perform a discovery scan or find a NAV Beacon to access the system’s complete map. Once you can see all celestial bodies in the system map, hover over a planet or moon and select it. When selected, you should see some information on the left-hand side of the map. If no information is present, you will have to perform a scan of it.

The important detail to keep in mind is the gravity of a planet or moon. The level of gravity will determine how easy of a time you can have when landing. Low gravity is good, and a high gravity is bad. For example, when landing on a high gravity body, it won’t be easy to maintain forward momentum upon exiting the glide. You may plummet to the surface, usually ending in explosive results. Of course, your survivability depends on your ship’s integrity.


Screenshot by Gamepur

You’ve found your target and are now flying straight at it. Adjust your course to come in at an angle until the orbital cruise initiates. Once the orbital cruise has started, you’ll begin to see many numbers and bars marked in degrees; this is your approach angle.

Screenshot by Gamepur

We have found that approaching at an angle between 40 and 45 degrees will give you the smoothest transition into a glide. Continue at this angle until you enter the glide phase. Once in the glide phase, maintain a level flight until the glide stops. Once it has ended, you are free to fly like normal.


When you have full control of your ship following the glide phase, start making your way down to the surface. Once you have gotten to about 25 to 30 meters from the surface, deploy your landing gear. At this point, your HUD radar will begin displaying the terrain with your ship above it. The HUD itself will let you know when your ship is above a suitable landing area with a level surface.

Screenshot by Gamepur

When you have found your desired landing area pay close attention to the center of your display. You should see a horizontal bar with various arrows. These arrows will let you know what adjustments you need to make to get your ship level for landing. Once the bar turns blue, apply your downward thrusters to descend onto the landing area gently.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Upon successful completion, your ship’s thrusters and power plant will automatically deactivate, and a blue text prompt will appear at the center of your screen, informing you to activate thrusters when ready to depart. From here, you can deploy an SRV (Scout Recon Vehicle) and traverse the surface or kick back and enjoy the view of the galaxy from the comfort of your cockpit.