BASICS: Flying - Orbital Docking Like A Boss - #00056

As a proficient and experienced Elite Dangerous CMDR (capital letters!), you have mastered the art of docking.

Have you?

In case you got any doubt about your skills, here are a few things you might consider.

Alignment in Supercruise

Approaching small outposts you don't have the dire need of aligning yourself in a good way. You would need a giant mental capacity for remembering where your probable landing pad is located, taking into account the numerous versions of outposts. No way, it's just too easy to fly around that bundle of shoe boxes for docking.

Approaching large orbital stations, you should align yourself near the main entry, the so called mail slot.

With coriolis stations, these half deflated balls, you got no hint about where the main entry is located when approaching it. Although the mail slot is shown on the left target hologram - if targetted in supercruise - the mail slot always and without any exception faces the nearby planet at least partially. So seeing the mail slot in supercruise is rare.

Approach coriolis stations from the planet's side. First get into the gap between station and planet, then turn toward the station. Be careful not to get too close to the planet as its mass will slow you down. Once in the gap, you can align yourself toward the mail slot by following your left target hologram.

For the rare asteroid bases, this rule also applies, they're basically rock'd versions of a coriolis.

Going to one of the other large orbital stations, be it ocellus or orbis, you can clearly see where the entrance is after targetting the station in supercruise: it's the 'ball-on-a-stick' which is the pressurized and low gravity part of the station you want to fly to.

PvP alignment

Sometimes you wish to check if some certain bad boy is at a station. By approaching the mail slot in supercruise and dropping in the primary approach vector, you will most likely be seen by one of these guys, as they usually face toward that vector (bad boys are simple creatures, they don't think in complex ways).
If so, approach from behind or from the side and sneak in to the station. From the side is usually best for several reasons. More about this in another howto.

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