An Unidentified Signal Source (or USS for short) is a targetable location that will spawn throughout star systems during Supercruise. It can be targeted and used as an exit point from Supercruise to a variety of events (e.g. Combat, Engineer materials, mission targets, etc...) depending on the signal source type.
These locations can contain anything from unique NPCs to Commodities and more. Missions can send players to find specific NPCs or Commodities which will generally be found in a USS.
A USS remains unidentified until you target it and centre it in your field of view. After a few seconds, the type of signal source will be displayed, followed by the threat level. In most cases, the threat level ranges from 0 (no threat) to 4 (dangerous hostile forces present), but Non-Human Signal Sources represent an even greater danger and can rise as high as 9.
Where to find Signal Sources
USS's spawn anywhere in populated (and occasionally unpopulated) space, with USS's spawning more frequently in higher population systems.
The type of USS (and its contents) that will spawn in a system is determined by several factors:
- System allegiance (Empire, Federation, or Independent)
- System state
- System security (Anarchy, Low, or High)
- System area (identifiable from the bottom left hand corner HUD panel)
The system areas which spawn different types of USS's are as follows:
Any part of space that is not a Sphere of Influence or a Shipping Lane. The easiest way to enter 'Deep Space' is to fly 200 ls away from the primary star, above the orbital plane.
A commonly travelled route between arrival point and any inhabited place (as well as between such places). Traders and pirates usually fly along shipping lanes.
Sphere of Influence (SOI)
An area around any celestial body and Space Station, identified by the body's name. The SOI size is dependent on the body's size and mass.
NOTE: Around landable bodies, the SOI will contain an area where Orbital Cruise is engaged. Any objects found in normal space inside this area is subject to the body's gravitational forces.
Types of Signal Sources
There are several different types of USS:
- Ceremonial Comms
- Combat Aftermath
- Convoy Dispersal Pattern
- Degraded Emissions
- Distress Call
- Encoded Emissions
- High Grade Emissions
- Mission Target
- Non-Human Signal Source
- Weapons Fire
- USS's are unique to each player. If a player sees USS, the same USS cannot be accessed by another player unless the original player drops into the USS. Then, players or NPCs can follow the original player via their low-wake signal.
- As of Beyond Chapter Four (3.3), USS's are semi-persistent objects. A USS will remain for a period of time after spawning; this period of time is displayed when targeting the USS.