I was feeling boxed in by my short jump distances and many paths that don't have stations along the way, so I bought a cheap fuel scoop for a few hundred credits.

However, I seem to be able to get almost no fuel before I overheat and have to leave. Do I really have to keep leaving, cooling down, and coming back for another 10 seconds at a time, or is there a way to lower my heat generation or otherwise scoop fuel so that I can do longer, more efficient scooping sessions?

  • Very carefully. What I do is I go in for a scoop, then I turn around and thrust away. And as soon as heat starts going down and also I'm still scooping, I shut down throttle and just sit there nearly stationary.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 3:54
  • It's possible you may need to get a better scoop to do that though.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 3:55
  • @Unionhawk YOu should post your comment as an answer Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 7:23

7 Answers 7


One important thing to remember is that heat doesn't cause damage until around 140% heat, so you have plenty of range to play around in.

v 1.2 Update: The new heat mechanic in 1.2 has moved the heat goalposts around, meaning you now start taking damage to modules at 100% heat[1] and damage to your hull at 140% (or the second line on the new heat bar).

[1] - The point at which you hit 100% in 1.2 is the same point you would have hit ~140% in previous versions, so you are not at a higher risk, it's the measurement that makes more sense.

Video Guide

The video guide is still relevant in 1.2 and higher, just bear in mind the above about the heat numbers. i.e. don't go above 100% any more.

How I've always done it

The way I usually fill up my tank is to aim first, have the star just on the edge of your view then throttle down to zero. When in supercruise this does not mean stationary so adjust your angle in small increments so that your heat stops rising but you are still getting a decent rate. If you are in a hurry, adjust your speed up in small increments as well which will give you a better rate but increase your heat, so you have to keep watching.

When scooping a lot of fuel, there's not much you can do about it other than find a good angle then go read reddit whilst you scoop.

Rate vs Scoop size

Each size and class of scoop will have a different rate and finding the optimal for your currently fitted scoop will take some experimentation. As above, until you know what a "safe" rate for your scoop is, just slowly increase the rate by adjusting your speed or angle against the star until your heat stabilises at a value less than 100%.

  • 4
    Yes. This and get a better scoop. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 21:59
  • this works sometimes, but I've noticed different stars generate different amounts of heat. white/blue stars are generally too hot to scoop from safely
    – Rapitor
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 5:57
  • Are some stars better/worse for fuel scooping than others? I was trying to scoop from a... red dwarf(?) star but was having a lot of difficulty - I would get dropped out of supercruise for being too close before I ever saw any fuel get scooped.
    – toryan
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 2:12
  • Since the 1.2 (wings) patch this answer could maybe do with an update.
    – Kurley
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 22:26
  • 2
    @Kurley, good point and done. I haven't had much time with 1.2 yet so have based by edits on patch notes and reviews. If you fancy fact checking the percentage numbers, I would appreciate it. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 11:42

Don't touch the brake. Stay at 0.3c. Fly close to the line (that goes round the star). If you cross the line you'll drop out of supercruise. As you are scooping move around the star and line up your next destination. If you start to overheat don't touch the brake, just move slightly away from the star and it should stop rising. Non-the-less you will be able to achieve 100% refuel rate. This is the fastest and most exhilarating method - if you don't believe me then try it. I'm going to make a video of this because the other methods are slightly inferior.


All internal modules produce heat when enabled. Before scooping just open the ship menu ('4' by default) and disable modules that are not used.

Shield is a top candidate to be disabled or uninstalled as it doesn't work in supercruise anyway and produces a lot of heat. Keep in mind that it won't re-charge instantly so crowded system isn't a good place to scoop.

Generally, quick overheat is a sign that your ship configuration doesn't fit for long travels. High heat productions means high energy consumption, heavy modules and generator.

  • Fast overheating can also just indicate a ship with bad heat management — see here for some numbers on small ships.
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 23:42

It depends on the scoop you're using. If you're using a low-grade scoop, overheating is inevitable. Just watch your heat gauge and try to stay above a safe distance. If you're going to be scooping a lot, it's worth it to invest in a better scoop once you get out of the Sidewinder. The Viper, for example, can mount a size 3 scoop that scoops at 75kg/s max, and can infinitely scoop at around 40kg/s (as in, no heat gain).

Also keep in mind that the scoop is on the bottom of your ship, so you'll scoop slightly faster when your bottom is to the sun. The bottom is also (slightly) more heat-resistant.


My technique is to fly at the star in supercruise (usually on a gentle angle), start scooping and then throttle back so that when I'm down to 30 km/sec I'll be scooping at 50-75% of my scoop's maximum rate. I rarely get above 65% doing this.

It can take a little bit of practice to get the speed right but once you've learned it you'll find it easy.


My process for safe fuel scooping:

0. Know your scoop's maximum scooping rate, and be sure the star is actually scoopable.
1. Enter the system at zero throttle. (Throttle back when the FSD countdown starts.)
2. Aim directly at the star and throttle up just a little.
3. When your scoop rate begins approaching maximum, slowly reduce throttle and start pulling "up" a bit (away from the star, but not quite heading out of it).
4. When the scoop rate hits max, set throttle to zero.
5. Adjust your pitch (relative to the star's surface) until the scoop rate ticks just below maximum. Stay right there with zero throttle.

  • The theory here is that you're setting yourself right at the edge of the scoop's maximum performance capacity. That is, you're getting as much as you can out of the scoop without being unnecessarily deep into the star.

6. Your scooping rate will slowly decrease. If it starts to get too low for your liking (I'd try to keep it above 90% of maximum), pitch "down" (towards the star) until you're just below the maximum scooping rate again.
7. Heat warnings will start going off at around 80% thermal saturation. If this happens, remain calm.
8. At 90% heat level, or once scooping is completed (whichever comes first), point directly away from the star and move out at full throttle. You should be able to get to a safe distance before you hit 100% heat.
9. When the fuel scoop turns off, you should be far enough away from the star to cool down fairly quickly. Kill the throttle at that point.
10. If you still need more fuel, wait until your heat levels stabilize and go back to step 2.

How many dips you'll need to fill up very much depends on how big your fuel scoop is and how much fuel your ship needs. Most small ships will probably need a couple runs to fill up if they're starting from a half-tank or less. If you've got a really big scoop though, you can easily top off dozens, if not hundreds, of tons of fuel in one shot.

Protip: Don't turn on your FSD until (at least) you're far enough from the star for the fuel scoop to turn off, and heat has dropped to 60% or lower. Otherwise, you'll probably start overheating before the FSD is fully charged.


Aim for about 8-10 for you refueling rate. It should keep your heat levels low.

  • 1
    This values expect that you have a specific Fuel Scope. The First Fuel Scope can only till 10 and you will be fast overheated. Some later Fuel Scopes you could even go higher.
    – Serverfrog
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 13:38
  • My Asp Explorer tops out at over 500 for scoop rate, and I rarely hit 80% heat level while doing it - even when scooping over 50t of fuel.
    – Iszi
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:37

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