No Man's Sky Atlas Pass guide: how to find v1, v2, and v3

Atlas Passes: What do they do? Do they do things? Let’s find out! One of the first mysteries for new players of No Man’s Sky is where to find an Atlas Pass and what’s behind all the locked doors that require them to open. Atlas Passes come in three varieties, v1, v2, and v3, and while the first ‘v’ is easy enough to find blueprints for, the others are a little more of a mystery. Here’s how to acquire (or attempt to acquire) their blueprints and what they earn you.

Atlas Pass v1

The ‘v1’ variant of the Atlas Pass is something you’ll pick up pretty quickly if you follow the Atlas path (agree to the red orb’s plan right after you wake up). Keep following the waypoints given to you in new systems, and you’ll eventually be led to a ‘Space Anomaly’—a big spherical station. You’ll get the blueprint there from an alien named Polo, and after that they’re easy to craft: just 25 Iron and 10 Heridium.

An Atlas Pass v1 can open storage containers containing high value items (eg Antimatter), typically found on planets near waypoints, as well as doors in space stations—the ones across the hangar from the door that leads to the marketplace. Behind those doors, you can purchase a new inventory slot for your suit and find resources.

Atlas Pass v2

The higher-level variants of the Atlas Pass are much harder to find blueprints for. According to Prima, you have a chance to find one in Operations Centers, and this is confirmed by videos. You can find Operations Centers by using planetary Signal Scanners (look for orange beams shooting straight up) and searching for ‘Colonial Outposts.’ You may also find Abandoned Factories while doing this.

To get into an Operations Center, you’ll have to blast through the steel door with your Boltcaster. This will anger three Sentinels, so do away with them and go back to the door. (Sometimes one or two Sentinels will get stuck behind the building—just ignore them.) Solve the problem in the outpost (solving it is usually dependent on your alien language knowledge, but you can always guess) and you may get the blueprint. I’ve tried about 14 of them to no avail, so don’t expect it to go quickly. 

The Atlas Pass v2 opens doors inside buildings on planets, and again according to Prima, behind these doors you’ll find “story-related events that help push you closer to the center.”

Atlas Pass v3 

There’s always one Atlas Pass v1 door on space stations, but there are also several Atlas Pass v3 doors with various resources behind them. Finding the blueprint is the same method as finding the v2 blueprint: keep visiting Operations Centers—this is also confirmed in videos. We’re not sure if you have a higher chance closer to the center of the galaxy, but if you’re not having any luck and need a break it couldn’t hurt to hop through a black hole or two.

A couple general notes: Atlas Passes aren’t consumed when you use them, and a v2 pass can open v1 doors, while a v3 pass can open all doors.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.