After the Foundation update of No Mans Sky, Signal Scanners, as we used to know them, are gone (and this makes all answers to this related question outdated). You got the power of building them wherever you want, but something is still wrong.

The option of searching for transmissions is gone. That means, you can no longer search for Transmission Towers (and Observatories as well), so, as it seems, you have to be much more lucky to find crashed ships.

Or am I wrong? Is there a way to find crashed ships much more frequent? Is there a way to scan for Transmission Towers?

  • One of the "optimizations" that I included in my answer on that linked question states that all transmission towers look the same on any given planet. Is this still the case?
    – Mage Xy
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 14:45
  • @Mage Xy Your statement mostly appears to hold. I mean, the main room (with the antenna on top) looks the same everywhere, there are variations in the number and orientation of the additional (AtlasPassV2-unlockable) rooms. But the building is distinguishable from others.
    – Neinstein
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 20:36
  • I don't know whether modding is accepted as solution here (my guess is a no), but there are mods (like Finding the Blackbox) that makes finding shipwrecks easier.
    – Neinstein
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 20:41
  • If someone writes up an answer that suggests a mod should be used, as long as the mod is actually relevant to the question, then yes we accept that as a valid answer (especially if there is not normally an in-game way to do whatever the mod is doing). I've suggested mods for answers before, and it was perfectly fine. As for solutions, only the asker (in this question, that's you) can mark any particular answer as the "solution" that helped them the most.
    – Mage Xy
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


It seems that one of the ways of finding a Transmission Tower (and thus possibly a crashed ship) is to perform a scan in your ship while in space. This is what one Reddit user suggested:

Transmission towers and crash ships still exist, however there is no way to find them except for sheer luck in a system scan, or just fly around and see it.

Perform the scans while looking at a planet. I can't tell for sure if this matters or not, but I seem to find more locations via this method while looking at the planet I want to scan.

You can also try this method one user posted on a Steam Forum:

  1. Build a Signal Booster
  2. Select Colonial Outpost. This has the chance of finding a Transmission Tower. If you don't find one and find something else, you have to go to the waypoint found and discover the location with the save point before you can re-scan again.
  3. Place a Beacon at the Transmission tower once found. This will act as a place holder for you so you can return to it easily.
  4. Solve the puzzle in the tower and go to the crashed ship
  5. Repeat steps 3 and & 4. The tower should reset after traveling to the crashed ship and discovering the location using the save point. If it didn't you can go into space and go to the space station as well to reset it and then come back.

You may not be able to reuse the towers as they stated however. Other users in the post found that they could not.

A third method which was posted in the same Steam forum as above states:

...Scan the planets from space and pick the ones where you get Abandoned Building or Trading Post. Those seem to be the planets with the most buildings. Some of them have a much higher density of buildings than before the update, there are crazy numbers of towers. Then just fly over the planet at 150 clicks or so and look for towers.


Post Atlas Rising (1.3), take the Repair-sidequests from the Mission Board. In my experience, they take you exclusively to Transmission Towers. From there, Timmy Jim's steps 3 to 5 above are still solid (although the Distress Signal can now also reveil 'crashed freighters', providing you with credits and nanites). It's become sheer luck to find Transmission Towers on your own, but the upside is that you can store six ships in your Freighter now, so you don't have to sacrifice your trusty stallion anymore. These steps describe how to acquire crashed ships cheaply, without losing your original ship.

  1. Before scavenging for crashed ships, use your Economy Scanner to find a wealthy system and purchase a cheap space ship at full price in your Freighter. This way I got myself an expendable shuttle-class for 800k. Leave it in your Freighter for now.
  2. Go to a Mission Board that has a Repair-sidequest and complete it. You don't have to turn it in.
  3. Place Beacon 1 outside the discovered Transmission Tower. Always keep some Marrow Bulb handy to craft Voltaic Cells with and give the Beacon a distinctive color using L2.
  4. Leave and re-enter the atmosphere to reset the Transmission Tower and return to Beacon 1.
  5. Complete the puzzle and make your way to the Distress Signal. If you don't like the ship you discovered or got a crashed Freighter, you can try to repeat step 4. Success not guaranteed, so you might have to go back to step 2.
  6. If you like the crashed ship you discovered, do not claim it. Yet. Instead, place Beacon 2 with a different color. I lost a 48-slot A-class crashed ship this way.
  7. Call in your Freighter and go get your expendable ship to fly to Beacon 2.
  8. Claim and repair the crashed ship. You only need to fix the essentials to get a lift-off, as you can take your new ship straight to your Freighter and repair it fully in the hangar.

That's it; you've still got your original ship and acquired a new one for under 1 million units, not accounting for repair costs. Credits/units for Timmy Jim!


There is still the option to get the distress signal - I have received it from some Gek NPC after some initial conversation.

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