Military ships are used to protect our emerging empire from threats... or to expand our glorious rule through force of arms, if we so wish. Our Navy Size is limited by technology and the skill of its commanding Admiral. No Admiral has been assigned to our starting fleet, so if we have the Influence points to spare we may wish to recruit one.
This is our Science ship, which is used to Survey astronomical objects such as planets in a star system. A planet needs to be surveyed in order to make its Resources visible. To put it to work, simply right-click on a not-yet-surveyed planetary body and select Survey System. The ship will then travel between all objects in the system and survey them each in turn. Surveying other planets may also uncover ones that are Habitable and ripe for future colonization.
This is our construction ship, which is used to construct space stations. When an astronomical object such as a planet has been surveyed, we can order this ship to build a research station or a mining station to exploit any resources it may have. Different types of stations, such as military stations that can be built anywhere inside a system, will become available as our technological capability increases.
When Armies are ordered into space, they automatically embark on these Transport ships which appear in orbit. Make sure to protect them, since they are quite defenseless! Escorts can be directed to follow a Transport fleet by right-clicking on it. Passive posture encourages the escorts to stay close to the transports they are following, but engage nearby enemy.
Military Stations are static defenses that can be used to protect important planets or strategic avenues of approach, but can only be built within our borders or territories we have special access to. Take care not to build too many - like ships, their maintenance costs will be a drain on our economy.
A Research Station built in orbit of a planetary body will gather its Physics, Engineering and Society research data. They can only be built within our borders, and they are not needed if the planet has already been colonized.
Mining Stations are used to extract the Minerals and Strategic Resources of the object they orbit. These resources can then be used by Pops and Orbital Refineries. Mining Stations are not needed to access the resources of colonized planets, and can only be built within our borders.
Wormhole stations are built on the outer rim of a system, molding minute tears in space-time into two-way portals to other stars. Ingenious.
Observation Posts house teams of scientists conducting research and remotely observing Primitive species on the planets they orbit.
Artist, Curator or Trader enclaves.
These are unidentified spacefaring entities. We can learn more about them and perhaps even initiate first contact by completing the appropriate Special Project.
A rally point is the location where newly created fleets converge. The 'Create Rally Point Icon' is located at the top right of both the Fleet and Planet screens. The icon appears as four arrows pointing to a central flag. By default, your home planet is a Rally Point.