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Instrument Landing System


Once installed and engaged, ILS will steer the ship through docking, synchronizing its rotation the the station's if necessary. The commander should control the ship's speed and pay attention in case some other ship launches from the station as his/her ship approaches. The commander can even use Injectors at the early approach to dock faster, though it's prudent to reduce speed closer to the dock.

The ILS mark the current waypoint with a white flashing lightball which will approach the dock as the commander gets nearer to the station. The commander can temporary override the ILS steering (to avoid a collision with a launching ship, for example) but when the controls are released ILS will resume steering the ship to the waypoint again.


ILS engages automatically if all the following conditions apply:

  • the station is locked with an indent lock (the "r" key - NOT the missile lock "t" key!)
  • the commander has asked for docking clearance
  • the commander received docking clearance, or it's not required
  • the commander ship is "beyond" the plane that would close the dock's entrance ("beyond" meaning the side of the plane that faces the outside, not the side that faces the dock's inside and the station) - if you can see the dock entrance, your are in the right place, if not you have to move to a place you can see the dock before ILS will engage
  • if in red alert, the weapons are offline

Note that engaging automatically means there is NO on/off switch for ILS (though the commander can switch ILS off by unlocking the station). The commander can stop the ship by reducing thrust to zero though (to avoid a collision, for example).

If the target lock is changed or removed, ILS disengages automatically... beware Telescope auto-locking!

The commander can avoid engaging ILS by using the missile targeting mode: use the "t" key instead of "r" to lock a station and ILS will not switch on.

ILS will rotate your ship in the last 2km if your ship is wider than the height of the dock.

ILS will even convince those stubborn Liners to stop while you are docking. Dredgers will stop as you ask for docking clearance...

ILS will disengage automatically when the docking clearance expires, so beware when docking to stations that do not require docking clearance... Dredgers included: once the (non-required) clearance expires, ILS will disengage and the Dredger will be free to start moving in "collision avoidance" mode. To avoid that, keep asking for docking clearance as you approach the dock (once each 30s should do it).

Cost: 50.0₢
Techlevel: 5

No more traffic jams!

NPC ships can dock much faster with ILS, using a shorter path and injectors, narrow ones without roll. This helps cure traffic jams near stations when you are waiting for landing clearance. You don't need to buy the ILS equipment yourself, just keep the .oxp installed and all the NPCs will use it! Injector-equipped ships will arrive in seconds, slowing down in the last 2km only.

Ils npc.png

You must wait until the current ILS-user ship is docked before you can use ILS.

If you target the station while another ship is using ILS then you lock on the landing ship - a help to find where it is. If you keep the station in your crosshairs when the current ship arrives into the dock then you get the right to use ILS regardless of whether there are others in the queue.

Alternatively you can wait until all ships arrive into the dock - you cannot break off an already started ILS approach.


If you do not know what you are doing, this can be a very effective way of visiting St Giles in The Pool of Pellucid Placidity! Or losing cargo or damaging your craft! Note that as your shields improve (Shield Boosters & Military Shield Enhancement), the speed at which you can survive increases too!

The most common issues are:

  • ILS does not fully work with the deeply recessed dock in Salvage Gangs/Hacker Outposts (from Anarchies OXP). One needs to be on the right side of the long docking tunnel and "in line" with that tunnel in order to use it safely (at which point one can just dock manually, anyways!)
  • the ship targeting something else which comes into its sight (beware of Telescope!) during the docking procedure - and either ILS looses its lock on the dock, or it fixates on another dockable and goes after that - in either case the change of direction can incur fatal consequences (this can actually happen inside the docking tunnel of hermits, for example);
  • Combining ILS with Telescope increases the opportunities for the loss of one's third dimension.

Advice: In such cases (and especially when approaching large moving objects such as Behemoths/Liners/Deep Space Dredgers) it is usually safest to detour around the object so that you can approach it from the side of the docking bay, thus limiting the gyrations required for the operation. If docking clearance protocols are not enabled (one of the F2 game options), then you can repeatedly press "L" which inhibits the objects own gyrations.


Oolite v1.79 or later.


Do not unzip the .oxz file, just move into the AddOns folder of your Oolite installation.


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License version 4.0. If you are re-using any piece of this OXP, please let me know by sending an e-mail to norbylite at


2022.10.24. v1.15 Prevents (hopefully :-) ) docking upside-down when rotation is necessary.
                  Do not use ILS to dock on Salvage Gangs (it does not work well with its deeply 
                  recessed dock).
                  Extends the "ship must be in the outside side of the docking bay entrance for ILS 
                  to engage" rule to NPCs (to avoid them plastering themselves on the station back 
                  or side walls...).
2022.08.08. v1.14 Makes asking for docking clearance necessary for the player to engage ILS.
                  Player gets ILS use when docking clearance is granted.
                  Restored making the current ILS user the player's target while the player waits for
                  docking clearance.
                  ILS is enabled for NPCs in the last station the player docked until the player moves
                  100km away from it, when ILS will be enabled at the main station to reduce the 
                  probability of a traffic jam.
                  Frees ILS for NPC use once the player has docked.
                  ILS does not engage until the player's ship is in the "outside" side of the dock
                  entrance's plane (avoids trying to dock through the dock's walls...).
                  Stops Liners and Dredgers while player uses ILS to dock with them.
2020.08.12. v1.13 Calculate Dock world-coordinates orientation by concatenating its orientation in 
                  station model-coordinates with the Station orientation in world-coordinates.
                  Get direction of Dock widest dimension (depth excluded)  based on Docks dimensions
                  and world-coordinates orientation (general case, should work for all kinds of
                  dock's placement on station models).
                  Use Dock's heading instead of Station's heading to get the position to aim on
                  Change rotation sync logic: if the ship's rotation is lagging, rotates in the same
                  direction as the station; if it's advanced, rotate against the station; this avoids
                  rotating too much inside the dock if a longer interval between FCB calls gets the
                  ship sufficiently out-of-sync to start correcting again (the "let's rotate once
                  more now we are inside the dock" bug...).
                  Limit ship's rotation in rotation sync to the max roll that ship can do in the FCB
                  time interval.
                  If the ship is approaching fast, start rotation sync farther away and rotate as
                  much as possible in each FCB call, otherwise do it more leisurely (for the visual
                  beauty... might be still too fast for that and need some tuning).
2020.07.16. v1.12 Off-centre dock alignment fix for player and NPC's, performance enhancements, 
                  improvements to auto-docking movements. Thanks to dybal.
2016.05.20. v1.11 Rotation fix at Torus stations, thanks to pkhb.
                  Smoother start of ILS steering as the ship has inertia.
2016.03.27. v1.9  ILS will rotate your ship in the last 2km if wider than the height of the dock.
                  Wide NPCs can rotate before dock to prevent lockdown at non-rolling stations.
                  NPC will slow during ILS approach when a ship is near to prevent collision.
                  Use less CPU by searching new ships in timer instead of FCB.
                  Fixed a minor bug in NPC logic when player launch.
2016.01.11. v1.8  Display a warning message if you must roll to fit into the dock.
                  No ILS in red alert except if weapons are offline.
                  NPCs will not dock until player has docking clearance.
                  NPCs will not use ILS at moving docks like Behemoth.
                  Landing NPC will stop when player launch from a station.
                  No more auto target lock on new ILS user NPCs.
2015.11.29. v1.7  Wide NPCs can use ILS, these will wait for the right position.
                  Lonq queues finish faster due to the speed based selection of next NPC.
                  Auto switch to the next ship when the current ILS user suffer attack.
                  No more "ILS set to" message when player is docked.
2015.11.28. v1.6  NPC ILS improved: earn higher speed and up to 95m width for Krait.
                  Must wait NPC to dock before ILS can be used by the player.
                  Targeted NPC will not get priority over others.
2015.11.27. v1.5  Most NPC ships can dock faster without roll, up to 80m width.
2015.03.21. v1.4  Fixed landing in Rock Hermits.
                  Fixed a bug with Towbar.
2014.10.01. v1.3  No ILS in missile targeting mode.
                  ILS steering suspended until player ship is stopped.
                  Fixed Telescope visual target shaking during ILS steering.
                  Using reduced turn rates when there is a ship on Towbar.
2014.09.30. v1.2  Refined approaching curve with less sharp turn at the end.
                  Fixed the white marker.
2014.09.29. v1.1  Small fixes, for example Carriers will not turn on ILS.
2014.09.29. v1.0  First release.


ILS-1.15.oxz‎ (downloaded 0 times).

Old versions:

ILS-1.14.oxz‎ (downloaded 0 times).

ILS-1.13.oxz‎ (downloaded 0 times).

ILS.1.12.oxz‎ (downloaded 0 times).

ILS.1.11.oxz‎ (downloaded 2091 times).

ILS.1.9.oxz‎ (downloaded 409 times).

ILS.1.8.oxz‎ (downloaded 613 times).

ILS.1.7.oxz‎ (downloaded 409 times).

ILS.1.4.oxz‎ (downloaded 1455 times).


You might wish to consult How to tweak OXZ's

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1.15 2022-10-24 CC BY-NC-SA 4 Landing System Equipment OXPs Norby BB-Link