You don't have to take a mission immediately. There's a brief window of game time where you might be able to wait for a vital research to complete or for an important soldier to finish a medical procedure without losing the opportunity to go on the mission (and without suffering the consequences of ignoring it).

Unfortunately, I haven't found a table of the mission availability times anywhere, and I never bothered to time it.

I have my first MEC trooper about to finish augmentation in 4 hours, and an abduction mission right now. This is month 2, Enemy Within, Classic Ironman. Can I wait 4 hours for that crucial rocket-punching, fire-drawing, closest-enemy-aim-debuffing MEC, or do I have to take the risk with what I have?

  • More generally, how long do I get to wait for any mission?
  • Does it depend on difficulty or mission type?
  • Is there a randomized component, or is it deterministic?
  • 5
    Possible duplicate (assuming it's the same for EW as EU): gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/87616/… Dec 7, 2013 at 10:05
  • Ooh, nice. Didn't see that. Too bad we can't assume it's the same for EW. Also, that data doesn't have information on how long the player can wait for council missions or covert operative retrievals. Dec 7, 2013 at 10:15
  • Having just looked in DefaultGameCore.ini for EW, it is the same. Sadly, that file doesn't give info on council missions. As for covert op retrievals, I've always assumed it's right now when the dialog pops up - i.e. don't press no. But I've never tested...
    – Flyto
    Dec 7, 2013 at 10:42
  • Well, Gangplank at least has a much more aggressive time limit. I just got burned twice, trying to wait for a MEC repair for Gangplank and then trying to wait for Beam Weapons before a UFO landing. The MEC repair showed 0 days when I tried to wait for it. Dec 7, 2013 at 22:32
  • @Simon W: Covert Op retrievals do still allow you to head out to Engineering to build more armour/medikits/etc before taking the mission. They show up in Mission Control just like any other mission.
    – AlexC
    Apr 30, 2014 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


There are two different kind of missions:
1.Side missions

  • They are not important to the story but can help

  • They usually have a deadline,but you can try them again usually.

2.Story missions

  • They are somehow important to the story

  • They usually don't have a deadline.


if the mission isn't a council mission or otherwise important for the story to continue, there is definitely a deadline. For instance, if you detect a UFO but don't have any suitable fighters to engage, after the day goes by the UFO escapes and might come back and shoot down a satellite.

Basically, you can't wait past midnight of the same day you get the mission or else it will disappear.

Gangplank and the other missions that expansion pack can be put off indefinitely and they will come back in about 2 weeks.

  • 2
    That's definitely not how the time limit works. Jan 17, 2016 at 2:51
  • I did flag it for being a poor answer, but it was disregarded
    – Oak
    Feb 19, 2016 at 0:52
  • Which part do you think is incorrect? I haven't played the game in a while but it sounds mostly right. The limit for a UFO sighting is probably 24 hours. You could start a new game in non-ironman mode and test it. Aug 30, 2016 at 14:06

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