>>>WARNING: Do not attempt planetary landing without using a Docking Ring<<<
A Docking Ring is a piece of orbiting Technology that, through the use of super strong crystalline Polymers and frictionless bearings, assists the smooth Atmospheric entry of any interstellar Vessel that has the ability to land. Invented in 130 A.S. by Ageira Technologies, these 'orbital Elevators' almost negate the cost of boosting people or matierials out of a planetary gravity well. Docking Rings revolutionized exploration and Industry almost overnight, openeing up entire Systems for Commercial exploration and exploitation.
Ageira Technologies licenses this Technology to the other Hoses, who in turn agree to design all Ships (except for special exploratory and survy vessels), to work with the Docking Ring system.
EFL Oil & Machinery researched and developed Gallic Docking Ring/Mooring Fixture Technology.
Larger vessels such as Transports, Gunboats and Capital Ships are too big to fit through the docking rings so they need to use a mooring fixture located above the docking rings. From there the pilots or crew take a shuttle down to the planet's surface. Mooring fixtures have no defensive capabilities but instead rely on those of nearby docking rings and planetary security.