All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt
The term Station generally refers to a 'dock-capable' location that orbits around a planet. Most stations are NPC controlled, although some stations in 0.0 space (null sec) can be player controlled, or even built by players.
Stations can provide a multitude of services. Services can include:
- Cloning, both Medical and Jump Clones
- Refining/Reprocessing Ore or Items
- Fitting services to install or remove modules
- Free and unlimited Items and Ships hangers
- Corporation Headquarters or Office rental (or permanent free use, if you are the station owner)
- Armor, Hull, and Module repair services
- Bounty offices
- Science and Industry services, for building items using the Factory or researching Blueprints to make them more efficient
- NPC delivery services, to move items to other stations
- Serving as the drop-off and pick-up locations for buying and selling on the open Market
- Loyalty Point store
The exact functionality of an station can vary greatly, and many will not have certain services. It is necessary to take note of what services are available in the area. Failing to do so could lead to lost time to extra travel as you later realize you need a specific service that isn't available.
Stations are often confused with Starbases (aka. 'POS'). Starbases are a collection of objects that orbit around Moons, can't be docked with, only have attachable/detachable services, are destructible and require fuel to function.
There are 3 types of stations found throughout the galaxy of EVE.
You can never take control of an NPC station. Conversely, you can always dock at one so long as your standings with the owner NPC's Faction haven't dropped to abysmal levels.
Unlike player controlled stations in 0.0 space, there can be multiple NPC stations in a given system.
Player Conquerable Stations (PCS)
Like all stations, PCS types are not destructible. However, a corp can gain control over the station by bringing it down to 0 shield hitpoints while holding Sovereignty to the system (referred to commonly as 'flipping' the station).
Player Built Stations (Outposts)
A player built station, also called an Outpost, is constructed by an Alliance with Sovereignty in a 0.0 Solar System. It can have the same types of services as the NPC and PCS type stations, but the total amount of functionality is reduced.
An Alliance can place the Outpost Platform (shaped like a giant egg) in the orbit of a planet, provided they have the appropriate Sovereignty level, and can muster the materials and man-power.
The Alliance must haul the components in and drop them into the platform. The station platform is vulnerable to attack until it is finished, and since freighters cannot deposit minerals at a platform (though one is required to deposit it initially), that can take a while. When it is full of the requisite materials, the process of construction begins. The station will finish automatically during the next down-time, making it highly desirable to time the entire process so it will finish just before down-time.
Currently CCP limits these stations to 1 per system. The 'PCS' type of station, above, counts toward this limit, so you may not construct one of these stations in a system that already has a 'PCS' type seeded there. Much like the PCS type, the Outpost cannot be destroyed, but can be gained control of by draining its shields to 0 while simultaneously holding the appropriate sovereignty in the system.
Constructable Station Types
There are 4 types of player built stations, one for every race. While they all share many of the same traits, each specializes in a different area. Caldari is most suited to researching Blueprints, Amarr has a considerable manufacturing capability, the Minmatar have the only station with a refinery service, while the Gallente have the largest capacity for Offices.
Caldari Research station:
- 2 x manufacturing
- 7 x mineral efficiency research
- 7 x production efficiency research
- 6 x copying
- 8 x offices
- Gets a -30% bonus to research time, and a -5% bonus to research materials.
Amarr Factory station:
- 20 x manufacturing
- 1 x mineral efficiency research
- 1 x production efficiency research
- 1 x copying
- 4 x offices
- Gets a -30% bonus to manufacturing time
Minmatar Service station:
- 2 x manufacturing
- 6 x offices
- Has a 35% base refine (which can be improved to near 100% with skills).
Gallente Administrative station:
- 4 x manufacturing
- 2 x mineral efficiency research
- 2 x production efficiency research
- 1 x copying
- 16 x offices
There also exists a number of upgrades that can be implemented to improve the various functions of an Outpost. They can be destroyed by enemy players without having to take control of the station itself.