USS as seen from a ship's cockpit


USS displayed in a ship's Contact panel

Unidentified Signal Source (abbreviated as "USS") are locations that randomly spawn throughout star systems. These locations can contain anything from unique NPCs to commodities and more. Missions can send players to find specific NPCs or Commodities which will generally be found in a USS. Since update 2.1 (or 1.6), Unidentified Signal sources now display their content when locked.

Missions that send players to a USS:

  • Assassination
  • Salvage/Fetch (Generally illegal missions that require you to obtain an item from a certain system)

Types of Signal Sources Edit

Salvage Edit

These contain the remains of a destroyed ship, along with a 1-10 cargo canisters containing either the ships' cargo, or special commodities such as Black Boxes, which are often used as mission goals. Any cargo picked up in salvage signal sources can only be sold at Black Markets, since it is marked as stolen.

Outside of the bubble (but close enough to it), large exploration data cache can be found. Inside the bubble small exploration data cache can be found. At great distance from the bubble no signals appear.

These signals come in four varieties:

  • Degraded Emissions: Contains basic loot, such as common materials and cargo canisters.
  • Encoded Emissions: Contains a Private Data Beacon, which can be scanned for a random data reward, along with common or uncommon materials.
  • High Grade Emissions: Contains 3-5 units of very rare materials.
  • Combat Aftermath: Contains 5-8 materials of varying grades from a destroyed ship.

Pirates Edit

Here players will find 1-4 pirates in their ships. They are sometimes accompanied by a transport ship, such as a Hauler. Pirates will start a cargo scan on the player's ship and attack only when they find any cargo that the player is unwilling to share. Even though the pirates are forming a gang, they often act individually and do not help each other when the players attacks one of them. It is not known whether this behaviour is on purpose or a bug.[citation needed]

System Authority & Bounty Hunters Edit

Similar to the gang of pirates, this signal source is inhabited by 1-4 ships, consisting of system authority ships and bounty hunters, sometimes both at the same time. They will scan the player's ship and only attack when the player has a local bounty on their head. System authority ships (not bounty hunters) can also issue fines when illegal or stolen cargo is detected.

Pirates & System Authority Edit

In these signal sources, system authority ships are engaged in a fight with pirates. The player may choose to help either side.

Tech Traders Edit

Here, a single trading ship, usually a Type-9 is found and offers the player to purchase wares off them. If the player's cargo contains the required commodity, it is automatically removed from cargo and the player is compensated in credits. These traders do not care whether the cargo has been acquired legally or stolen and always pay the full price, in contrast to black markets, which pay less for stolen cargo.

Other TradersEdit


Other Traders

There have been seen other kinds of traders similar to Tech Traders. 

Wedding or Funeral Ships Edit

A group of ships, usually four with one being a Type-9 or Orca, traveling through the system for a wedding or funeral. The funeral or wedding ships ignore player ships, unless provoked.

Mission Alternatives Edit

These only occur when the player has an active mission. In this case, the ship is offering the player a different award when they abandon the mission or fulfill a different mission goal. For example, if the player is hauling cargo, the ship may offer more credits when the cargo is dropped somewhere else. Or, when the player is tasked to kill a number of pirates, the ship may turn the mission around, asking the player to kill system authority ships instead. In any case, it is up to the player whether they want to follow the original mission path or the alternative. For assassination missions, the pilot may hint that the target is actually in another system than the original mission description said.

Transport Wing Edit

In this USS, one or two transport wings can be found, each consisting of one transport ship with its bodyguards, usually smaller ships such as Sidewinders or Eagles.

Psychopaths Edit

3 to 4 ships attack you on sight.

Notes Edit

  • When searching for USSs, drop your throttle to 0% and supercruise around at 30km/s. The signals spawn just as often as at faster speeds, but they appear only ~500km from you, so you can immediately drop out into the USS.
  • Assuming a USS has spawned it will be displayed (and lockable) in the Contacts panel the player's ship is close enough to the spawned USS.
  • It is unclear how USS spawn since they can generally be found throughout star systems and ship speed does not seem to play an active role.[citation needed]
  • Sometimes a ship will enter Supercruise next to a USS and speed off. It's unclear as to whether or not this hints to what may be in the USS when you drop into it.

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