No Man's Sky Derelict Freighter Guide: Landing, Tainted Metal, & Tips (2023)

No Man’s Sky Derelict Freighters are spooky, dangerous, and full of valuable rewards like Tainted Metal and Salvaged Frigate Modules. Originally introduced in the Desolation Update, these are now one of the most lucrative activities in the game. You can do a lot with very little by completing just one of these hulks. You just need to know where to find them and what to do! That’s the purpose of this guide as we run through every step in this semi-survival horror activity found in the depths of No Man’s Sky. Let’s take a look!

How to Find a Derelict Freighter in No Man’s Sky

The first step in this process is, of course, to find yourself a freighter. This requires a special consumable item called the Emergency Broadcast Receiver. Each of which can be acquired in a variety of ways. The most consistent of which is going to set you back a bit. You can buy them from the Scrap Dealer on any standard space station found in No Man’s Sky.

The NPC can be found next to the Technology Traders — up the left-side ramp as you enter any space station. They will sell a single Emergency Broadcast Receiver for 5 million Units. You can buy more after that, but the price goes up each time. The first costs 5 million, the second costs 10 million, the third costs 20 million, and every other consumable after that point costs 30 million. That’s the cap. However, the price resets to the original 5 million every 24 real-world hours.

The Scrap Dealer will also explain the very, very basics of Derelict Freighter discovery in No Man’s Sky. Yet you really need to experience them yourself to get a handle on the important stuff. In fact, you don’t actually unlock the second method of purchasing Emergency Broadcast Receivers until after you complete your first derelict. After you do finish a derelict, however, you can get one free receiver per week from Iteration: Helios on the Space Anomaly. You can find them standing at the top of the right-side ramp — leading up to the observation deck where Nada and Polo are found.

No Man's Sky Derelict Freighter Guide: Landing, Tainted Metal, & Tips (1)

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To actually use the Emergency Broadcast Receiver, interact with the item in your inventory, then engage the Pulse Engine. The direction doesn’t matter. You just need to fly around at pulse speed for a few seconds until warning message appears. When it does, drop back to normal speed and the Derelict Freighter will appear before you.

There’s one last way to find a Derelict Freighter: random chance. You may occasionally encounter one as a Pulse Engine anomaly (not to be confused with the Space Anomaly, which is a specific location). Anomalies are random events that also occur when flying around with your Pulse Engine. They’re very rare and lead to a wide variety of things. Only a few will turn out to be a Derelict Freighter.

You can technically also increase your odds by using an Anomaly Detector, which forces an anomaly to occur. These are found (very, very,very rarely) inside of asteroids. Just shoot rocks with your starship and you may find one eventually. This is hardly reliable, of course, so stick to the Scrap Dealer for your first derelict.

How to Land on a Derelict Freighter in No Man’s Sky

This seems like a very basic question, but it apparently trips up more players than you might think. That’s probably because it relies on a mechanic that No Man’s Sky never fully explains. It relies on the “auto-landing” system that you normally see in places like Trade Outposts. Auto-landing is just shorthand, however, as the process isn’t fully automatic. You do need to approach the Derelict Freighter and press the landing button to get out of your ship.


However, you need to specifically line up your ship near the airlock. This is next to a set of four symmetrical landing pads — marked by nearby red lights. You need to approach the area and wait for a set of small, blue circles to appear. This indicates you’re approaching the right landing zone. You can see these same circles at certain planetary structures (like the aforementioned Trade Outposts). When you get close enough, and line up your starship so it is roughly parallel to the parking spot, the concentric circles will turn green. This means you’re clear to hit the landing button. After which, No Man’s Sky will take over the hard part and automatically complete the landing sequence for you.

Perhaps the reason this is so tricky for players is because the landing spot on a Derelict Freighter is much smaller than average. You also don’t usually see this mechanic in space — where the glowing blow tractor beams of space stations and functioning freighters are more common. Either way, this is the trick.

No Man’s Sky Derelict Freighter Tips

Every No Man’s Sky Derelict Freighter is slightly unique. It’s a procedurally generated game, after all. But the basics always remain the same. After landing, you open an airlock and begin exploring the innards of the empty beast. Though it’s not really empty, is it? Each derelict is full of hazards just waiting to kill unsuspecting players. We want to avoid that at all costs — while also soaking up the many juicy rewards inside.

Note that the inside environment will first shut down your jetpack and attempt to kill you with frigid temperatures, security drones, auto-turrets, and regular old suffocation. You need to slowly fight your way through the derelict — exploring every single room and activating three terminals along the way. Make sure to activate and stop by the small, rectangular heaters scattered throughout the ship as well. These are soft checkpoints that let you stop and regain your bearings between rooms.

Here’s a very straightforward list of tips on how to prepare and protecting yourself:

(Video) Everything you Need to Know About Derelict Freighters

  1. Clean out your inventory before entering
  2. Bring ammo and/or materials to make more
  3. Interact with the light blue cannisters floating inside the freighter to gather Oxygen and Sodium
  4. Don’t open doors until you’re ready to walk through
  5. Activate the small heaters to create zones safe from environmental damage
  6. Shoot pustules on the floor to reveal hidden heaters
  7. Kill mobile enemies first
  8. Don’t fight auto-turrets unless absolutely necessary
  9. Open every blue container you see
  10. Interact with every datapad you see
  11. Bring a good gun (e.g. the Pulse Spitter)

We want a clean inventory because derelicts are full of valuable loot. That includes rare trading items to sell on the galactic market, but also special items which can be traded to NPCs back on your favorite space station. You can also get stuff like Living Slime in droves by destroying the green pustules growing throughout the ship. Living Slime isn’t that valuable on its own, but it can be refined into Runaway Mould, which can be refinedfurther into valuable Nanite Clusters. Meanwhile, Oxygen and Sodium recharge your life support and hazard protection manually. Having space to pick up more (from the floating cannisters) is a good safety measure.

One of the biggest prizes, however, is a Salvaged Frigate Module or two. These are used to permanently upgrade your freighter. You need quite a lot to unlock every add-on, too. This makes it some of the most valuable Derelict Freighter loot in No Man’s Sky. Make sure to keep these items safe if you get one.

The derelict will also likely be full of enemies more aggressive than the col: floating drones, acid-spitting monsters, and defense turrets. The drones and monsters aren’t hard to kill. Yet they attack immediately and will chase you down. That’s why we kill them first. You should actually avoid auto-turrets altogether. These only attack if you step into the moving, red security lights they project. You can watch the red lights to gauge their patterns before simply slipping past them.

However, if you do decide to destroy a turret, be very careful about it. Peek around corners to shoot them and use cover when reloading. These turrets hit very hard and have reinforced armor. They take a long time to kill. Don’t be afraid to simply walk away and stand next to a heater while your shields recharge. You can whittle them down this way (as long as you have Oxygen to sustain your Life Support).

With those hazards in mind, you just need to explore. There are usually about a dozen rooms in total. You need to check each one and activate those three terminals to finish each derelict. Terminals typically give valuable items called a “Crew Manifest” and a “Captain’s Log.” You trade these to the Scrap Dealer or any mission agent back on space stations. The agent will award you with either faction reputation or Nanite Clusters; the dealer will hand out Tainted Metal.

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Tainted Metal is a unique currency. The Scrap Dealer gives unique rewards for its safe return: including cosmetics, base decorations, and random modules for your gear. You can also process Tainted Metal into more nanites, if you wish.

No Man's Sky Derelict Freighter Guide: Landing, Tainted Metal, & Tips (2)

This is why it’s important to pick up datapads. Most of these items scattered about the derelict only provide small snippets of story. However, one will also provide a password needed to access one of the terminals and retrieve its reward item. The terminal will offer a list of greyed-out dialogue options, while having the password in your inventory will cause one of those choices to become available. Select that dialogue option to retrieve your reward.

On that note, the third Derelict Freighter terminal doesn’t actually award trade-in items. Instead, it presents a list of rewards for you to select from. You can take 500-600 Nanite Clusters, a “Cargo Bulkhead” for your own freighter (which increases its inventory slots by one), or a “Salvaged Fleet Unit” (which provides a random upgrade to one of your frigates).

Each terminal also has a teleporter next to it. You can reactivate this cylindrical device by interacting with it. Then just step into the tube of light to teleport. This will let you fast travel around the Derelict Freighter — including back to the airlock at the beginning once it’s time to leave.

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Finally, we don’t open doors (by shooting the goopy tendrils that block them) until we’re ready to go through. This is because you can use the Analysis Visor to see which doors are already open. Since there’s no map inside the derelict, this is the best way to keep track of where we have and haven’t been, so you don’t get lost. Remember that the objective requires us to search every single room; losing track of where we have yet to go just makes things harder.

Return to the airlock using the teleporter once you retrieve your reward from the final terminal. At this point, it’s safe to return to your ship, and hit up the space station! You’re done. All that’s left is to sell your booty and decide which NPC you want to sell the Crew Manifest and Captain’s Log to. Best of luck and enjoy your future as a Derelict Freighter hunter in No Man’s Sky!


How do you get Tainted Metal from derelict freighter? ›

Where To Find Desolate Freighters And Tainted Metal? You can purchase coordinates from the scrap dealers on space stations, who will then give you an Emergency Broadcast Receiver to locate the wreckages. Use them in your inventory to begin the scan, and then use the Pulse Drive until it finds a source.

How do you land on a broken derelict freighter? ›

You do need to approach the Derelict Freighter and press the landing button to get out of your ship. However, you need to specifically line up your ship near the airlock. This is next to a set of four symmetrical landing pads — marked by nearby red lights.

What are you supposed to do with a derelict freighter in no man's sky? ›

Behaviour. Players must board the freighter, which has been sealed shut, to collect information and loot. Interacting with the airlock terminal computer will unseal the freighter for exploration. You will be unable to use your jetpack and movement will be slowed down.

How do you land on a derelict freighter in no man's sky? ›

To get to the new ones that you can land on you need to go to a space station and talk to a scrap dealer. For five million credits they'll give you an item that will lead you there.

What is the best thing to do with Tainted Metal? ›

Tainted Metal (Un) is a resource found in Derelict Freighters. It is used to trade for suspicious items and cosmetics with the Scrap Dealer, or for converting into Nanites via refining.

How do you explore a derelict freighter? ›

To use the Emergency Broadcast Locator, exit the space station and activate it from your inventory while in space. The game will prompt you to engage your pulse drive, at which point it will begin scanning frequencies to locate a derelict.

How do I find a downed freighter? ›

Crashed Freighters will only appear on planetary surfaces. They are most easily found by using a Signal Scanner. They can also be found by talking to aliens in space stations or by using your Analysis Visor if they're nearby.

Do derelict freighters Despawn? ›

It will de-spawn. I am assuming you are talking about the derelict freighters that you can land on in space. Last I checked it will despawn as soon as you leave the vicinity if not as soon as you take off.

What happens if I decline freighter NMS? ›

If the freighter is not accepted, this option is carried on to the next rescue until the player finally accepts - from that point onward, any new freighter must be bought normally.

Can you destroy pirate freighters in no man's sky? ›

Once all the turrets are wiped out and the starships are destroyed, consider the job done, since you cannot entirely destroy the freighter. At this point you can fight the starships endlessly until you decide to fly away.

Can you fly freighter No Mans sky? ›

There are two types of freighter space battles. The first kind is a common space battle, where you'll get a distress signal icon on your screen, and then the player can fly to the battle if the player wants to participate.

How do you get a living freighter in no man's sky? ›

Players must run fleet missions to be able to encounter them. The Dream Aerial can be obtained from a blueprint as a reward for these missions. However, it is not guaranteed to be given. Once the item is in the user's grasp, they will soon be able to undertake a mission where these living frigates can be encountered.

How many nanites are in derelict freighter? ›

A typical derelict freighter will yield 2-6M Units and 1,500-4,000 Nanites in a form of scrap (see reward table above), plus a Cargo Bulkhead, or a Salvaged Fleet Unit, or additional Nanites.

How do you reduce metal scraps? ›

6 Ways to Reduce Scrap and Rework
  1. Conduct Process Audits. Many manufacturers' OEE is much lower than they assume. ...
  2. Improve Communication and Change Management. ...
  3. Review Material Sourcing. ...
  4. Review and Improve Training. ...
  5. Document the Right Things. ...
  6. Evaluate Maintenance Strategies.
Jun 30, 2022

What can you do with smelted metal? ›

In addition to making ingots for sale to recycling centers and industrial manufacturers, it's possible to smelt metal into products. Gates, hood ornaments and door knockers are among the retail items that can be molded from smelted metal and sold in retail outlets.

Is duping in NMS Bannable? ›

as the title says - is duping items bannable in NMS? no... there's no score keeping and no competition... why anyone would yuck someone else's yum is beyond me... play your game your way and leave others to play it their way...

What is the rarest material in NMS? ›

The rarest thing in No Man's Sky is the Gold GUPPY ship with Cowled Rear Thruster.

Do you sell or donate crew manifest? ›

Crew Manifest is a curiosity that is found on a Derelict Freighter. It can be sold for Tainted Metal to the Scrap Dealer; or donated to the Guild Envoy on the Space station to increase standing with this race.

How do you trigger a free freighter? ›

How To Get A Free Freighter
  1. Jump systems until a distress call comes through regarding a freighter under attack. Typically, a freighter battle against pirates will be found after five jumps. ...
  2. Defeat the pirates attacking the freighter. ...
  3. Board the freighter and speak with the captain. ...
  4. Accept or decline the freighter.
Jun 13, 2022

Can my freighter be destroyed? ›

You can't destroy your freighter, also your can't destroy or sell your ships. There are videos on exactly what you need to do to unlock a capital freighter before using that free freighter.

How do I find a broken down ship in NMS? ›

Locating. Crashed Ships can be located in a variety of ways: Using Transmission Towers. After correctly solving a number sequence at a Transmission Tower, a Distress Signal can be found (in some rare instances the location of a Crashed Freighter will be found instead).

Is it worth repairing damaged ships NMS? ›

Yes, repairing some damaged parts gives you more credits when scrapping the ship: The trade-in or scrapping value will be reduced by the ratio of Damaged Components to total slots.

How do you loot a crashed freighter? ›

Crashed freighters can be located after solving a puzzle at a Transmission Tower or by normal exploration. Through the use of tools such as the Terrain Manipulator, Plasma Launcher, or Geology Cannon, you can uncover storage units that contain Nanite Clusters or units.

Can you claim a derelict ship? ›

derelicts can only be looted for resources and scrap. claimable ships can be claimed, repaired and used.

What enemies are on derelict freighters? ›

Enemies aboard Derelict Freighters

The four types of enemies are AI Drones, AI Turrets, Space Jellyfish, and Crawlers. AI Drones are small mechanical spheres which fire laser beams at any players they encounter.

How long does sunken ship loot last? ›

When a ship sinks, any player loot on it will float to the surface of the water. After 5 minutes, floating player loot will sink. After 5 minutes on the sea floor, player loot will disappear.

Can you get an S Class freighter for free? ›

Players will have to put in a lot of work to find an S-Class Freighter, but it can be done for absolutely free. It just requires an Economy Scanner and a lot of space travel to get one.

What is the biggest freighter in NMS? ›

The Oculus-class is the biggest known regular freighter and likely a tribute to the ship Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Oculus' bow has an extra engine unit and huge space for internals in its sphere. In theory it could function like a detachable module for an independent spaceship.

Can I warp back to my freighter? ›

Just pull your freighter to you, either from a planet's surface, or in space.... When on the planet's surface, press 'x' on your keyboard (not sure about controller) and scroll to the icon that has a upside-down cone shape. Look up into the sky and summon your freighter.

Can you get a sentinel freighter? ›

The No Man's Sky Sentinel Freighter is also available for purchase as your capital freighter as well. This guide will walk you through how to destroy the turrets located on the freighter and disable it.

Can you own 2 freighters no man's sky? ›

You can only own one freighter.

Can you steal other players ships in no man's sky? ›

And yes, you can steal ships that you board.

Can you put Exocraft on freighter? ›


Players who own a freighter may now build an Orbital Exocraft Materialiser. This powerful new technology allows you to summon your Exocraft whenever your freighter is present in the current star system.

How many ships can a freighter hold no man's sky? ›

Players can now own up to nine starships, giving ship hunters the opportunity to collect a more diverse fleet of ship classes, colours and designs. Additionally, players may now switch their primary starship while within their freighter hangar.

Can you put terminals on freighter NMS? ›

Galactic Trade Terminal

Players can build these terminals on a base or freighter.

How do you get Leviathan frigate? ›

It is classified in game as an Organic-Type Frigate. Similar to SSV Normandy SR1, it cannot be landed upon. After Leviathan is received in the Expedition save, it can be acquired from Quicksilver Synthesis Companion in any other save.

What is the maximum fleet size in NMS? ›

You can have a maximum of 30 frigates. The thunderous booms you hear in space are freighters warping into the star system. The freighters have fleets of frigates and the frigates with green icons can be purchased.

How do you get thousands of nanites? ›

An easy way to get Nanites at any time is to upload your discoveries. When you press Options to pause the game, you can tab over to Discoveries, and here, you'll find all the planets you've found, as well as any flora and fauna you've scanned.

What gives the most Nanites in NMS? ›

For farming pure Nanites all you need to hold on to are the Upgrade Modules. These will be worth various amounts of Nanites, ranging from 200 to 3,000 and beyond. Sell them at the station to the Technology Merchant. This will be under the "Purchase Upgrade Modules", but switch to sell and then get rid of everything.

What gives the most Nanites in no man's sky? ›

Fighting Sentinels

Killing Sentinel Drones and Heavy Drones yields Combat Supplies, which yield Nanites and Salvaged Glass, which yields Upgrades, which can be sold for Nanites. Rapidly killing large amounts of Sentinels is very profitable, rivaling the starship scrapping strategy.

How do you get rusted metal NMS? ›

Rusted Metal can be purchased from some Galactic Trade Terminals and pilot NPCs. Rusted Metal is a rare planetary resource to be mined akin to Ferrite and its variants.

How do you scrap a damaged ship in no man's sky? ›

Trading in or Scrapping Crashed Ships

If you choose not to repair the Launch Thruster and the Pulse Engine, this method will transfer the ship to a Space Station and allow you to scrap it: claim the crashed ship but leave it at the crash site. fly away with another ship from your collection.

Are derelict freighters profitable? ›

They are still highly profitable as of Waypoint 4.0, the only trouble is, these lost freighters are usually inhabited by some or other nefarious presence that usually leaves no traces of life in it's wake. You can get all sorts of goodies on Derelicts, including upgrades for your personal freighter.

What is the easiest way to get haunted metal scrap? ›

Players may obtain this item by landing one of the killing blows on the Horseless Headless Horsemann with a melee weapon while remaining alive during the boss' death.

How do you trigger a trace of metal? ›

To trigger the A Trace of Metal quest, players need to have their own Planetary Settlement which they oversee. Players also need to make sure that there are no outstanding settlement mission objectives that they need to complete.

How many nanites in a nanite cluster? ›

They are sixteen of them.

Should I keep rusted metal no man's sky? ›

Its not a bad idea to save the rusted metal and sell it when you first start out. Every little helps unit wise at the beginning of a save. You can refine rust into ferrite dust. Its not a bad idea to save the rusted metal and sell it when you first start out.

What is living slime used for? ›

Living Slime is used as an ingredient for crafting the following products: Spewing Vents -- Sac Venom x5 + Living Slime x40 → Spewing Vents.

How do I get the gun in no man's sky? ›

- To build and add a weapon, select "Projectile" or "Grenade." You'll need the necessary amount of minerals to forge whatever's offered on your menu. - If you've gathered the necessary plutonium and iron, you should have enough material to build a simple bolt caster.

Is it worth repairing broken ships in no man's sky? ›

Yes, repairing some damaged parts gives you more credits when scrapping the ship: The trade-in or scrapping value will be reduced by the ratio of Damaged Components to total slots. The normal trade-in value is 70% of that.

Can you claim abandoned vessels in no man's sky? ›

Abandoned ships are not claimable. They are an artifact left over from the previous owner exchanging it for another ship and are no longer really in the game. Though you can still seem them, you cannot interact with them, so have no way to claim them.

Can you still steal ships in no man's sky? ›

You can also steal them! If you really like free things. Well, no, not from other players or ships currently in use. Ships that are sitting at stations/trading posts can be stolen with some hacking I believe.

Can you build a portal in your freighter? ›

Teleporters can now be built aboard Freighter Bases. These variants do not require power. They can be used to teleport to other teleporters, or to the Space Station.

Can you own two freighters? ›

You can only own one freighter.

How many freighters can you own? ›

A player can own up to 30 frigates once they command a freighter. Build a Fleet Command Room and interact with its terminal to receive the blueprints for Frigate Fuel (50 Tonnes), Frigate Fuel (100 Tonnes) and Frigate Fuel (200 Tonnes).


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