Fuel Scoops

From Elite Wiki
Fuel Scoops
Fuel scoop small.jpg
Name Fuel/Cargo Scoop
Cost 525.0 ₢.
TL Availability 6

Fuel Scoops, alternately known as Cargo Scoops, are considered essentials for deep space and danger zone trading, have a standardised design and a standard fitment. They use powerful electro-magnetic fields to guide the solar wind into their ReQax converters to fill the Witch-Space fuel condensers, and may also may be used to pick up small space debris.


Fuel scoops provide a quick and easy way to refuel the spacecraft without the need to purchase fuel from space stations. They combine a powerful magnetic field generator, an atomic sensor and a vacuum lock collector to actively suck hydrogen from the corona of a star. The ionised particles of the solar wind are separated by mass and charge, the hydrogen is then processed in a catalytic chamber, converted to Quirium and injected into the vessel’s storage tanks. All non-hydrogen materials are fed into the drive exhaust. All this with no leaking of gases or radiation.

In addition, the scoop’s sensor matrix can sense dense (non gaseous) objects, such as cargo containers or metallic fragments, and divert them via a tractor chute into the ship’s hold. This allows for salvage of space debris and is an essential piece of equipment to the asteroid miner. Similarly, nearly all pirate vessels have scoops fitted so they can blast their prey apart and loot the wreckage, removing any need to board a hostile craft.

Once installed, the fuel scoop icon will become visible on the HUD, as shown below. This icon has the handy function of oscillating while the Fuel Scoops are in operation, for visual confirmation along with the audible indicator functionality. Once the Cargo bay is filled to capacity, the lower segment of the icon will change colour from green to red as a handy reminder to the busy Commander that he is unable to salvage any floating debris that he should encounter in the spacelanes. It is to be noted that the Fuel Scoops are still functional for ship refuelling whether the cargo bay is full or not.

  • Fuel Scoops Icon.png The Fuel Scoop Icon as it normally appears on the HUD.
  • Fuel Scoops Full.png The Fuel Scoop Icon as it appears when the cargo bay is full.


On many ships, the installation of scoops involves additional pipework that can be as little as 40% efficient. For a more efficient system see the notes on Executive SpaceWays Delta and Strelka series.

Scooping Fuel

To scoop hydrogen fuel from a star's corona into the converters, a ship of moderate speed should have Witchdrive Fuel Injectors installed, or be prepared to quickly hyperspace out. Secondly, assess that the sun is not too hot (this will take some practice) so that scooping won't result in certain death. Approach the star's corona carefully, while watching the cabin temperature indicator closely (as it will rise and continue to do so until it reaches the top of the gauge, at which point life support systems will fail and you will die an agonising death).

When the scoops engage, a message will be shown to indicate this. When the tank is full, exit by hyperjumping or engage the fuel injectors to go directly away from the sun promptly. Be sure to seek expert advice from a veteran pilot, as far too many young Jamesons have succumbed to a fiery death.

NOTE: Sunskimming is rarely used as a refuelling method by larger transports due to the control instability experienced within a star’s corona.

Guide to 'Failsafe' Skimming

by Commander Dilbert
This technique works with every sun I've ever tried skimming, whether you have Witchdrive Fuel Injectors fitted or not.

Be sure to keep an eye on your altitude and cabin temperature, and have an emergency hyperdrive location set just in case.

Footnote for newcomers: Don't forget inertia. It'll take a while for your cabin to heat up - and cool down again. If you're looking at a blinking red Cabin Temperature gauge, you're most likely barbecue fuel already.

Other Skimming Guides

Honestly, it's not that hard.

The video is of a "fuel scoop run" in the strict game with no heat shields or fuel injectors. Just scoops. The compass shows just the planet. There's no sound, as I generally have it switched off for dev work, and forgot to turn it on in the video.
At around 1:03 I'm mass-locked by the sun and drop out of torus.
At around 1:28 I switch to the rear view to make things a little easier to see
At around 1:54 the fuel scoops engage, and I switch back to front view, and then point my ship at the horizon line of the sun.
At around 2:09 the fuel scoops finish their work, and I point my ship away from the sun.
Note that I don't have injectors, so I can't boost away from here.
At around 2:59 the cabin temp hits the red zone.
At around 3:20 I exit mass-lock range and can engage torus.
At around 3:29 the cabin temp starts dropping as I leave the "hot zone" of the sun. Phkb
Note the external glow as the ship heats up! Smivs's Python is slower than Phkb's player Cobra Mk.3 (0.20lm versus 0.35lm), and he uses his injectors once he starts to refuel.
And sun glare was less of an issue in the pre-2014 versions of Oolite.
  • A slightly different approach: Ya-Ta-Hey (2013)

The green highlight quadrant shows the space flotsam ingestion zone

Scooping cargo/splinters/debris

With a fuel scoop installed, you may scoop up an object of limited size (cargo cannisters, minerals, life pods). Fuel scoops automatically operate whenever the advanced sensors detect either an object in range, or a particle density of greater than 100 ppm³.

To scoop an object, pilot the ship so that it passes just above the object. You might find it helpful to orient yourself so that the sun is behind you, lighting up your target

Note: Some vessels with off-centre viewer positions may require additional practice.

Guide to Cargo Scooping

by Commander Dilbert
Craft: Cobra Mark III
Scoop Location: Directly below cockpit (ie under your scanner).

Commander Dilbert


Cargo Marshalling

When scooping, each scooped item (even 3g of gemstones) is taken to represent 1TC of cargo and thus takes up 1TC of space in the hold. This is all sorted out on docking (when, for example, the gemstones are removed from the cargo hold and transferred to the cabin safe) - but not before.


Cargo Scoops (Kruger).png

Cargo Hold fullness indicators

Your F5 Manifest screen, Useful MFDs & the Manifest MFD tell you how full your hold is, as does the Vimana HUD.


  • AutoSkim OXP sells an Autopilot for sunskimming
  • Star Fuel alters the quality of the fuel depending on the star it was scooped from
  • Fuel Tweaks enables you to sell scooped Quirium fuel once you have bought the necessary equipment.
  • Glare Clarifier or Glare Filter allow you to purchase sun-specs' to cut the solar glare.
  • Torus To Sun allows faster speeds from the Torus Drive. This is especially important if you have introduced ambience .oxps increasing the distance from the planets to their sun.

Scooping Cargo/Splinters

  • Cargo Wreck Teaser OXP: this OXP makes scooping cargo pods much more interesting. For even more excitement, try adding New Cargoes to your cocktail mix of oxp's. And remove Cargo Scanner, if you loaded it.



To display fullness of cargo hold while scooping

I've been playing as a miner (from the miner start) for a while and been missing info about the cargo hold status while scooping. This one fills that bill nicely.

1. First of all you'll need a Config folder in your AddOns folder. Create one, if missing.
2. Then you'll need to create a script.js file into that Config folder. Assuming that you don't already have that file of course.
3. And finally put this into that file:
this.name = "my_own_tweaks";

this.shipScoopedOther = function(whom) {
	player.consoleMessage("Cargo load " + player.ship.cargoSpaceUsed + " of " + player.ship.cargoSpaceCapacity + " t.");

By Spara (2014)


Oolite Equipment
Standard Equipment
Astrogation ConsoleCargo HoldCompassEnergy banksEngine/Main Drive • HUDIFF ScannerLife Support SystemsMissilePulse LaserShieldsShip's HullTorus Jump DriveView Screen • Witchspace/Hyperspace Drive
Optional Equipment
Advanced Navigational ArrayAdvanced Space CompassCargo Bay ExpansionDocking ComputersE.C.M. SystemEscape PodExtra Energy UnitExternal Heat ShieldingFuel ScoopsGalactic HyperdriveIntegrated Targeting SystemMilitary Shield EnhancementMulti-Targeting SystemNaval Energy UnitPassenger BerthScanner Targeting EnhancementShield BoostersTarget System Memory ExpansionWitchdrive Fuel InjectorsWormhole Scanner
Beam LaserECM Hardened MissileEnergy BombMilitary LaserMining LaserMissilePulse LaserQuirium Cascade MineTwin Plasma Cannon