Surrounding the planet are the orbital facilities you will use to earn resources, expand your fleet, and land colonies. You may not dock ships at an orbital facility unless docking ports are available and you can meet both the ship and cost requirements.
Each ship you dock at the Alien Artifact may be of any value and allows you to discard the alien tech cards on display and lay out three new cards from the deck. This is called "cycling" and it is optional.
To claim one of the alien tech cards on display you need to have docked ships with a total value of 8 or more. When you claim an alien tech card the count is reset to zero, so, to claim another card you need to dock new ships totaling 8 or more.
Replace the claimed card with one from the draw pile. You may not claim an alien tech card you already have. There are enough docking ports to accommodate four ships at a time.
Example 1 : There is a Polarity Device card on display and you want it, so you dock a 2 and a 6 at the Alien Artifact and take the card.
Example 2 : You dock a 3 at the Alien Artifact and cycle the alien tech cards. There's nothing you want so you dock a 2 and cycle the cards again. You still have not found what you want so you dock a 4 and cycle the cards a third time. The Plasma Cannon is now on display. Since your docked ships total 8 or more (3+2+4=9) you take the Plasma Cannon.
Example 3 : After completing the moves in example 2 there is one dock open at the Alien Artifact. You could dock a fourth ship there and cycle the cards again but you could not claim a second alien tech card because the "8 or more" requirement is a separate total for each card you claim.
The Colonist Hub has four "advancement tracks" so that four players can use it simultaneously to ready colonies for territory placement. Each track contains three docking ports and seven advancement circles. A player may use only one advancement track at a time.
If you do not have a colony at the Colonist Hub then the first ship docked here requires you to place one of your unplaced colonies on the first advancement circle.
Each additional ship you dock here, either on this turn or on subsequent turns, must be placed on this same track until that colony is launched. Each ship docked advances the colony one circle.
When the colony reaches the seventh advancement circle you may launch it at your convenience by paying one fuel and one ore. You may not begin work on another colony at the Colonist Hub until the one already on the advancement track has been launched. Once the colony has been placed on a territory you may start advancing a new colony with the next ship you dock at the Colonist Hub.
If you earn more advances than are needed to move your colony to the seventh circle (see Asimov Crater below) and launch the colony immediately, you may use the excess advances to begin work on a new colony.
Your final colony is not locked into the Colonist Hub. If your last colony is on the Colonist Hub and your roll gives you the opportunity to use the Terraforming Station or the Colony Constructor, you may remove the colony from the Colonist Hub and place it on a territory via the rules for those other facilities.
You must dock three ships of equal value and pay three ore to use the Colony Constructor.
There are enough docking ports for two sets of triples to be docked simultaneously.
Using the Colony Constructor allows you to land one of your unplaced colonies on a territory immediately.
Each new ship docked at the Lunar Mine must be equal to or greater than the highest value ship currently docked here.
There are enough docking ports to accommodate five ships at any one time. You gain one ore for each ship you dock here.
Example : At the beginning of your turn there is a 1 and a 4 docked at the Lunar Mine. You roll a 3, 4, and 6. You cannot dock the 3 at the Lunar Mine because it is less than the 4 already docked there, but you can dock both your 4 and your 6.
ou earn two ore for docking both ships at the Lunar Mine. The Lunar Mine now has only one docking port free and the next player that wants to use it will need a 6.
If you cannot dock a ship legally during your turn, place it here. Maintenance Bay gives the player no benefit. Any ships purchased through the Shipyard or Burroughs Desert are placed here until the player's next turn.
A ship on the Maintenance Bay cannot be moved with an alien tech card. Ships removed from facilities with the Plasma Cannon or bumped from the Raiders' Outpost are placed at the Maintenance Bay until their player's next turn.
You must dock two ships of equal value to use the Orbital Market. There are enough docking ports to accommodate two pairs of ships at any one time. While docked at the Orbital Market you may pay fuel equal to the value of one of your docked ships to receive one ore. You may trade as many times as you wish on your turn.
Example: You dock a pair of 3s at the Orbital Market. On this turn you may pay three fuel to receive one ore. If you have six fuel you may do the trade twice. If you acquire three more fuel during your turn you may do the trade again.
You must dock a set of three sequentially numbered ships to use the Raiders' Outpost. There are docking ports for one set of three ships. If the Raiders' Outpost is occupied, either by your own ships or by the ships of another player, you may dock a higher- value sequence here and move the original ships to the Maintenance Bay.
While docked at the Raiders' Outpost you may steal a total of four resources from any mix of players or one alien tech card of your choice from one player. If you steal an alien tech card that you already have, the stolen card is discarded immediately and you gain no benefit from doing so.
Example 1: If a 1-2-3 is docked at the Raiders' Outpost and the next player rolls a 2-3-4 then that player may remove the 1-2-3 and dock their 2-3-4 at the facility to conduct their own raid. If another player rolls a 3-4-5 or a 4-5-6 then they may remove the 2-3-4 and dock their own sequence and conduct their own raid.
You must dock two ships of equal value to use the Shipyard. There are enough docking ports to accommodate three pairs of ships at any one time. Each pair of docked ships, along with the payment of the appropriate fuel and ore, earns one new ship from the ship stock.
- 4th ship : pay one fuel and one ore.
- 5th ship : pay two fuel and two ore.
- 6th ship : pay three fuel and three ore.
Take a ship of your color from the ship stock and place it in the Maintenance Bay. Claim it at the start of your next turn when you gather your fleet. If there are no ships of your color in the ship stock on your turn then you may not use the Shipyard. Because it is possible to lose ships while playing, you may build your 4th, 5th, or 6th ship more than once during the game.
You may dock ships of any value at the Solar Converter. There are enough docking ports to accommodate eight ships. You gain fuel equal to one half the value of each ship you dock here. Round up for each ship.
Example : If you dock a 3 and a 4 at the solar converter you will receive two fuel for the 3 and two fuel for the 4.
You must dock one ship with a value of 6 and pay one fuel and one ore to use the Terraforming Station. There is only one docking port available at this facility.
Using the Terraforming Station allows you to land one of your unplaced colonies on a territory immediately. The ship docked at the Terraforming Station is completely consumed by the colony creation process and is returned to the ship stock at the beginning of your next turn.
A ship forfeited in this manner may be rebuilt using the Shipyard only after it has returned to the ship stock.
You cannot use the Terraforming Station if doing so would reduce your fleet to fewer than three ships of your color.
A ship docked at the Terraforming Station may be removed by the Plasma Cannon card but may not be moved to another orbital facility.