The ultimate universal status-symbol: owning your own spacestation. (Too cheap to purchase your own? Run one with a team!)
Not for the faint of heart, but offering rich rewards to those with the right character, running a spacestation truly makes your mark in the universe. A simple station might be a supply depot, or a defensive unit. Fully-functional outposts have a trading bay, exotic goods for sale, and a rich conflux of interesting spacefarers. (Not to mention a proper defense system.)
To make a base you'll need the Station Management skill, then you'll need a Station kit. This item will construct a barebones station out in the galaxy of your choice. There are two important types of Station kits: attached and freestanding. A freestanding station can be placed anywhere. It just sits there. An attached Station kit must connect to some kind of solar body, usually a planet or a moon. The attached stations stay connected and follow their host around the galaxy wherever it moves. If you want to mine something for raw materials, you'll need an attached station kit. Note that you have to be over level 20 to build bases.
Placing a Stationary Station
Once you place it, there's no moving it, so be careful here. First, you may wish to make sure a galaxy isn't "owned" by someone. An owned galaxy means that somebody doesn't believe in sharing. Any station you place there will be considered to be a hostile act, and the owning team will try to take it out. Probably successfully. Other than that, depending upon the purpose of the station, there's usually a balance between making a station obscure so it's not so easily attacked, and really obvious so lots of people come to trade. Find your own balance. When you have picked your spot, right-click on the station kit in your item list and hit 'Use.'
Placing an Attached Station
First step is to pick your target. Find a planet or a moon on which you'd like to place your station. Target it. Make sure you're close and moving at a similar speed and then right-click on your attached station kit, select use, and you'll have a new station. This process can be quite difficult on a fast-moving solar body, so you may wish to use a hotkey.
Personalizing the Station
The first thing you need is a name. "Unnamed Base" just sounds so drab. On the Control screen, select "Set Name..." to baptize your creation. Choosing "Set Description..." allows you to expound at length on the virtues of your spacestation. This prose will appear in the Saloon section -- where people first come in.
Outfitting the Station
Probably the only thing your spacestation will have when it's first created is a basic, non-replenishing shield. You'll need to fix it up with a real shield, a weapon, an energy supply, and a radar to see any bad guys coming. Since stations don't run themselves quite like your ship, you'll need workers to make this happen. Generally, one item (a shield, weapon etc.) requires one worker. All workers need is feeding, so give them pleanty of rations, because they'll go on strike if you don't. Then transfer over some workers -- to move items, right-click in your Ship window on an item you wish to move. Finally, move over some items and equip them. The items a station uses are basically the same as what your ship can use. One difference: stations can auto-aim all weapons at their target.
In the station window, click over to 'Construction.' Under 'Blueprints' you can see what you can possibly build. The two basic additions are a 'Station Expansion Unit' and a 'Trading Bay.' The station expansion allows you to fit more things in your station: trading goods, equipped items, whatever. The trading bay provides a forum for trade between the station and visiting spacefolk. Constructing something new requires time, Manhours. Manhours come from having Workers onboard the station. Only free workers -- those not used up equipping items -- contribute to the construction projects. Click over to the Control tab to see how many free workers you have. Next to workforce is a ratio: X/Y. Y represents the total number of workers you have on the station. X is how many are needed to equip the items you're using. The difference between these two numbers is how many workers can participate in the construction. Once a construction project is finished, it will appear in the station's item list, and can then be equipped to be used. Make sure you have enough free space in your station for the new object! If not, better construct an expansion unit first. Station expansions and trading bays change the outward appearance of a station. Other base constructs require finding new types of blueprints.
First, construct a trading bay. Now you can establish prices. Click over to "Control." Click the button "Add Trade Good." You will be presented with a list of goods your character knows about -- goods you have seen before in stations or wherever. Double-click on a good in which you wish to trade. A window will come up with parameters: Sell price (station selling to others), Buy price, buy max, sell max and extract limit. Buy max is an upper limit on how many of this item the station will be willing to purchase, sell max is the amount the base will always keep on it, extract limit stops the base from overfilling itself with extracted or manufactured goods. This process can also be used for updating prices.
There are docking, management and construction permissions.
There are three main levels of docking permissions. "Anyone" will allow any piece of space riffraff cruise up and dock in your pad. Unless, of course, they're an enemy. This is a good option if you're trying to establish a trading post. "Peon" though to "Director" allows prople on your team to dock if they are that rank or above, and "Me" keeps things to yourself.
Management and Construction permissions are automatically set to Operator, but the owner can change these from the rank Peon to Director and Me. Management permissions stops low ranking team mates from taking money or items, construction stops them from starting or cancelling builds.
Managing a spacestation is a big project, one that can often be handled more easily with a team. Assuming you're already on a team, you can make a station become a team-owned station. Click over to Control in the station window.
If your station is attached to a solar body, it may be possible to gather natural resources like space oats, baobab trees, or even exotic alien artifacts from lost civilizations. Different kinds of resources require different tools to harvest them. For example, you'd get space oats with a harvester, and metal with a mining drill. Just make sure you have enough space in your station to hold what you're harvesting!
Maintaining your Station
Stations need to equip items for defense, and equipping items takes workers, and workers require rations. Therefore, you must ensure that your station has enough rations on hand at all times to keep operating. Additionally, there's the question of defense. Ideally your station will have a good defense of its own, but it's rare that any station can by itself withstand a sustained and carefully orchestrated attack by a skilled badguy. So be on guard.
Enemy stations (or your own) can be captured. To do this, you must irradiate them with a radiation weapon. When you have reduced their shields to zero, you will see a blue flash that indicates you have succeeded. At this point, the next ship to dock at this station becomes the new owner. However, the station is still functional, and as such, will continue firing at you until you can dock.