How to get a free No Man's Sky freighter

(Image credit: Hello Games)

For those who might be a little bit sceptical at the No Man’s Sky free freighter sign, we don’t blame you. Ships and the like are notoriously expensive in No Man's Sky, so having someone tell you that you can net one for free might sound like we’re having you on. However, even if you’re short on credits after Beyond’s penchant for throwing mission and rewards on you, you can still pick up this No Man's Sky free freighter in the game as long as you have a Hyperdrive.

How to get a free No Man's Sky freighter

Turns out buying a giant spaceship base is pretty darn expensive, but there is a way to get a No Man's Sky freighter for free. As with everything in Hello Games' procedurally generated title, including getting a No Man's Sky Atlas Pass, there's a certain amount of luck attached to acquiring one. However, as long as you keep everything crossed - and I mean everything - you should have a free freighter in no time at all.

What you need to do is keep warping through galaxies until you warp into one where you are immediately presented with a freighter being attacked by a swarm of ships. You can either a) attack the freighter and attempt to make off with all its cargo, or b) destroy all the attacking ships with your own weaponry to help the poor freighter pilot. 

Basically, do option b), don't be a space monster folks. Then, when the freighter is totally out of danger - be careful not to damage it during the battle - the weary captain will invite you on board. He'll be so traumatised by the entire ordeal that he'll literally give you his ship. Yes, just like that. 

After that, you'll be able to just go aboard and start up the various freighter missions, make a base and start controlling your frigate fleet. It'll only be one frigate strong to start off with, but you did just get it all for free.

Other ways to get a No Man's Sky freighter

No Man's Sky freighter

If you happen to miss the free freighter mission the first time or ignore it, the mission will keep popping up as you warp through the various galaxies. However, if for some reason you missed out on it - like I seem to have on my original PS4 save from the launch of No Man's Sky - you can just buy one. But, I'll warn you, they're expensive. 

Costing upwards of one million units, a freighter isn't cheap in No Man's Sky. But if you want to buy one, once you've saved up enough, either to start your freighter journey or to upgrade to a better one (freighters are graded just like ships and multi-tools from S Class at the top, and then from A class going down to C), you just need to go on board and speak to the captain. You can then offer to buy their freighter and add it to your arsenal. 

How to best use your No Man's Sky freighter

No Man's Sky freighter

Once you've got yourself a No Man's Sky freighter, you'll want to use it to do all four of the below things, in order to make the most use of your brand new, massive, shiny toy.

1. Build yourself a space base

No Man's Sky freighter base

The best thing about a freighter is that you can summon it from wherever you are in the cosmos, either by hitting down on the D-Pad on a controller or by whacking X on PC to bring up your Quick Menu. It therefore makes sense to build yourself a snazzy base onboard because then you'll have access to all your stuff in every galaxy you go to, like some kind of giant space rucksack. 

There's a huge area at the front of the freighter - on the opposite side to the captain, but on the same floor - that you can use to build various rooms, corridors, a farm and other base essentials. Heck you can even try and build your very own Enterprise if you have the patience. 

2. Utilise its mighty storage

No Man's Sky freighter storage

Freighters also come equipped with plenty of sexy storage pods for you to hoard a small civilisation's worth of resources. Unlike your exosuit, each inventory slot can hold up to 1000 items of each resource for things like carbon, oxygen and the like, and up to 60 of more valuable items like No Man's Sky Technology Modules or even GekNip. You know those cuties go mad for it. It's worth noting that a base's storage containers also offer such large capacities, but you can't summon them from wherever you are in the cosmos now can you?

3. Start building your frigate empire, and raking in all the cash

No Man's Sky freighter with frigates

Your free No Man's Sky freighter will come with a single frigate, but it's worth saving up to get yourself a small army of the things. These are the smaller ships that hang around your freighter like flies, but can actually be sent off on expeditions to earn you sweet, sweet units and a load of valuable resources, which can used or also be sold for even more units. Ka-ching! In order to control them, you'll have to build a Fleet Command Room in order to communicate with your frigate pilots, and then go and talk to the Navigator to send them on expeditions. But when they start bringing you back all that aforementioned swag, you'll start seeing the value in some (more) terminal faffing.

4. Undertake some Galactic Commissions

No Man's Sky Galactic Missions

Ok, so you don't actually have to own a No Man's Sky freighter in order to take on some Galactic Commission Station missions, but it is another prong of the wonderfulness that is owning a freighter. Accessible via the glowing orange orb on the central terminal where you'll find your Navigator, just down from where the captain lives, these Galactic Missions are very similar to the ones you'll get from the various alien mission givers on Space Stations, but you're not going to turn down another income source, are you?

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Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.