Civ 5: How To Build a Spaceship & Win a Science Victory

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Step 1: To build a spaceship, you must first complete the Apollo Program project, which is available after researching Rocketry.

The Tech Needed to Build a Spaceship / Civ 5
The Tech Needed to Build a Spaceship

Step 2: Next, you’ll need to build all of the spaceship (SS) parts:

SS Part Required Tech
Engine Particle Physics
Booster (x3) Advanced Ballistics
Cockpit Satellites
Stasis Chamber Nanotechnology

Step 3: Lastly, the parts must be moved to your capital to assemble your spaceship.

Press This Button to Add the Part to Your Spaceship / Civ 5
Press This Button to Add the Part to Your Spaceship

Researching the Required Techs

The challenge with the Science Victory is in getting the required techs, which are all at the end game.

You’ll want to optimize your civ for generating lots of science.

It’s also generally better to play tall than wide. That’s because you gain +1 science per citizen, but get a compounding +5% tech cost per city.

You should limit your civ to just 4–6 cities. Focus on growth rather than expansion.


City Placement

Try to have a city next to a mountain and near jungles.

  1. If they’re next to mountains, they can build observatories. Those provide a massive +50% science output boost.
  2. For jungles, those become relevant after researching Education. Your city will be able to build a university, which have these benefits:
    • +2 science from jungles
    • 2 scientist slots with each generating +3 science
    • +33% science in the city

Combining these two features can easily turn your city into a scientific powerhouse.

If you can find that perfect spot and settle on it, prioritize transferring food into that city using caravans or cargo ships. Encourage its growth so you can quickly take advantage of its placement.


Social Policies

For a Science Victory, consider taking these social policy trees:

  • Tradition
    • It promotes growth in all your cities and provides free monuments and aqueducts for your first four cities.
    • Completing it allows you to buy Great Engineers with faith starting in the Industrial Era. They’ll be useful later if you choose the Order ideology.
  • Piety
    • You can dabble in Piety while other options aren’t available yet.
    • It improves your faith income, which you can use to purchase Great People.
    • In harder difficulties or competitive multiplayer, Piety may be necessary to unlock a belief first.
  • Commerce
    • Your capital gets a +25% gold bonus.
    • Its “Mercantilism” policy has these benefits:
      • -25% purchase cost of units and buildings
      • +1 science for every mint, market, bank, and stock exchange
    • It pairs well with the Freedom ideology, which lets you buy SS parts with gold.
  • Rationalism
    • It grants an empire-wide >+10% science> bonus if you have positive happiness.
    • It boosts the science bonuses of specialists, universities, and research agreements.
    • Trading posts now have a >+1 science> yield. Build them on top of jungles to further increase their science output.
    • Completing it allows you to buy Great Scientists with faith starting in the Industrial Era.

Great Scientists

Spawning Great Scientists

Aside from purchasing them with faith, Great Scientists appear when a city has accumulated enough Great Scientist Points (GSP).

Your first Great Scientist will spawn at 100 GSP. Every succeeding one will double the required amount.

GSPs are generated by “scientist” specialists, with each one contributing +3 GSP. You can get scientist slots from these buildings:

Science Building Slots Required Tech and Era
University (or Wat) 2 Education (Medieval)
Public School 1 Scientific Theory (Industrial)
Research Lab 1 Plastics (Modern)

You can get a stackable +25% GSP gain from each of these buildings:

Building Required Tech and Era Other Notes
Garden (or Candi) Theology
The city must be adjacent to a freshwater source.
National Epic Drama and Poetry
It requires a monument in all of your cities.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Printing Press
Its bonus applies to all of your cities.

You get a free Great Person of your choice after building it.

Using Great Scientists

Great Scientists can be used to do two things:

  • Boost Science – You immediately receive a large amount of science, which usually finishes your current research.
  • Create an Academy – Academies are tile improvements with a +8 science yield.

It’s smarter to create academies in the early game, as you’ll get the most of their output.

Boost science becomes more viable in the end game. You’ll want the quick science bursts to get the final techs.


Building the Spaceship Parts

Selecting the SS Cockpit in the Units List / Civ 5
Selecting the SS Cockpit in the Units List

Each SS part costs 1 aluminum and 1500 production to build. This takes at least 20 turns in a modern city with 70–80 production output.

Because of that, you should build parts in separate cities to speed up this process.

You’ll also want to build these two buildings with stackable production modifiers:

Building Effect Build Cost Requirements
Spaceship Factory +3 Production

+50% Production when building SS parts

360 Production


1050 Gold

Robotics (Tech)

1 Aluminum

Has a Factory in the city

Hubble Space Telescope
Spawn 2 Great Scientists

Free Spaceship Factory in its city

+25% Production when building SS parts

1250 Production Satellites (Tech)


Like their real-life counterparts, Freedom and Order are the two ideologies best suited for the space race.

They both have a Level 3 Tenet that makes it easier to obtain an SS part.

A Contrast of Their Tenets / Civ 5
A Contrast of Their Tenets

You can choose either one depending on how you’ve built up your civ.

  • If your gold income is off the charts, pick Freedom.
  • Choose Order if you have better production, faith income, or point generation for Great Engineers.

Lastly, each of them has their own Steam achievement for winning a Science Victory.

Steam Achievements for a Space Victory with Freedom and Order / Civ 5
Steam Achievements for a Space Victory with Freedom and Order
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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.