Satellites (SEIV)

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Satellites are immobile units in Space Empires which are deployed like fighters and mines. Satellites, however, are different in that they cannot move and are large enough to hold ship-sized weapons. Satellites come in three sizes, Small (80kT), Medium (100kT), and Large (120kT). Each size requires an advance in the tech level of satellites. Players generally start with the first size but must research the larger sizes. Satellites can be held and transported as cargo or launched and used individually. They group together if launched in the same sector, much like fighters and mines.

Launching and retrieving satellites

Satellites can be launched by planets or by ships.

  • Planets can launch up to a thousand satellites per game turn, which generally exceeds the amount available anyway.
  • For a ship to launch or recover a satellite, it must be equipped with at least one satellite launcher component. The number and type of satellite launchers on the ship define the amount of sats that can be launched at a time.


Satellites are often used for defence, because they are simple and easy to build, incur no maintenance costs, and can be quite formidable in groups. An basic satellite for the early game would have a computer core, several weapons, and, if available, some armor. This simplicity and lack of micromanagement can sometimes be useful, but they are not perfect. Small size makes it hard to specialize within one design, so it is often necessary to create several similar designs to achieve variety. One of the worst flaws of satellites is that they can sometime be completely useless in combat for several reasons.

  • Satellites are often placed badly during combat. Because of their inability to move, they are useless if placed in a bad spot. Oftentimes they will spawn on the far side of a planet relative to the attackers. However they are usually placed well enough to get a shot in if placed for warp point defence.
  • Because satellites are immobile, all an enemy need do is either
    • use ships with a longer range attack.
    • go around them.


Because they are easy to build, satellites are often used as outposts, being placed in systems which the player cannot colonize at the time, such as neutral systems between warring races, or systems outside a players initial borders. This is a common strategy because each system requires only one satellite and it allows the player to see everything that happens in that system. The most basic satellite contains only a computer core and is often used in the early game because many can be created quickly. This satellite can provide an omnipresent view of the system it occupies, but has no protection and can be seen and attacked by passing ships. Many players will equip their early recon satellites with weapons to discourage passing ships from destroying them. In the late game, recon satellites can become very complex and useful, containing advanced sensors and scanners to expand the players knowledge of the galaxy. A late game satellite often contains a Cloaking Device, some kind of cloak detection, and long range scanners. These satellites can often remain hidden for long amounts of time, especially if the enemy has not yet researched cloak detection components. They can find any passing cloaked ships and scan them for components and cargo if they are within range. These kinds of satellites often become very frustrating for players and are sought out and destroyed if suspected of being present.

Other uses

  1. Satellites can be used for remote mining. See the remote mining for more details.

See also

Preceded by:
Weapon Platforms
Manual (SEIV)
Section 8.7
Followed by:
Systems and Sectors