Given the proper setup and preparations, running a small research operation is a project that can be handled by a single character. In order to keep things simple and safe, this series will address setting up and maintaining a single small tower with three labs in highsec.
Under the current system, Player Owned Stations are corporate entities which means you will be launching it for your corporation. There is no way around this, which means your best bet is just incorporating the character that will be doing the research and calling it a day. There are already videos on setting up a corporation like this one that will give the basics and show at least the area the buttons are in, even if you can’t read the buttons in the video. There isn’t much to it, as long as you’re not trying to manage member roles and my recommendation is not even inviting anyone that isn’t you to this corporation. When all characters in your corp are you, it’s a trivial matter to give them all director roles and know you won’t steal from yourself.
In order to pull off some of the fancier moves, you will need to rent office space in an NPC station. You want the station of choice in the same system as your POS, but it doesn’t need to be in a popular corp to be effective. Corporate office rental costs scale up in price as more corporations rent from a specific station longer. Many stations will have no slots available and the ones that do will often have very high prices if they’re a popular NPC corp. You’ll want to avoid any corporation that offers a lot of combat or research agents because those are the ones that contain the most legacy corporate activities. Once people start acquiring a horde of gear, they’re not keen on moving their operations and that central hoard will often revolve around a station for an NPC corp with which they have high standings due to the lower tax rates and availability of mission agents. In Caldari space for example, Caldari Navy, Kaalakiota, Ishukone, Corporate Police Force, Ishukone Watch, Lai Dai, and Lai Dai Protection Service are terrible places to base a corporate office due to competition and pricing, whereas corporations like Minedrill and Propel Dynamics are usually floating ghost towns. Have you ever heard of anyone running missions for Propel Dynamics? Neither have I.
Since the important aspect of using a corporate office in the same system as your POS is keeping your blueprints safe, you don’t need any reputation with the corporation you’re renting office space from at all. You only want the hangar space and don’t need services like refining. The only other thing you might do there is store spare fuel, an industrial to ferry the fuel and other consumables to the POS occasionally, and perhaps a classic “Posprey” to bring your shields up to full after you initially anchor everything. They’re your landlord, they don’t need to be your friend.
The empire you're setting up your station in, unfortunately, does have to be your friend. More specifically it has to be your corporations friend. In order to anchor a POS at all in high security space you need empire faction equal to ten times the security status of the system. This covers .5 through .7 sec space. You cannot anchor POS at all in .8 and above. The empire faction standings are averaged across everyone in the corporation which is why a one person corp where that one character has high standings works. There are services available to anchor highsec POS relatively cheaply using someone elses rep and they transfer corporation control to you, but if you don't have the faction standing and anything should happen to that POS you won't be able to re-anchor it. There are ways to blitz empire faction standings such as this handy guide here if you need it. ( http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Faction_Standing_Repair_Plan ). This takes longer than usual to build since your skills do not influence this number for your corporation. If you're the only corpmember you must have 5.0 unmodified empire faction standing with the empire whos space you're setting up in just to anchor in a .5 system.
If you’re setting up a small, personal POS for research purposes you want to keep things contained and secure. In highsec, you can’t do moon mining, reactions, or many of the fun things POSes are good for but you can do research. You’ll be looking for a system between .5 and .7 security that is uncontested. If you’re setting up in a crowded area or really anywhere near Jita there will be a lot of competition for those moons and you will attract attention. Ideally, you’ll want a system that is centrally located to your own operations and is close to where you will be producing your fuel, or if you cannot be arsed to make fuel, close enough to your local market hub for comfortable fuel hauling.
This basic setup involves any non-Amarr small control tower, three mobile labs, and no defenses. Amarr control towers are fairly CPU strapped and small Amarr towers lack the CPU needed to run three mobile labs. Currently, Caldari Control Tower Small’s are under 86 million and mobile labs are under 100 million, and that’s not even in Jita. Since we're setting up in highsec in an "undesirable" location in this example, we won't be including any defenses whatsoever, so don't worry about buying any. Apart from having a stock of the correct racial fuel cubes and starbase charters, and some Strontium Clathrates to online the tower with, that's about all you will need.
A Fuel block is 5 m3. Small towers have a 35,000 m3 fuel bay, so a full load of 7,000 fuel blocks powers one for 28 days. In reality, it is slightly less than that because you’ll also be adding starbase charters as well.
The Strontium bay holds 12,500 m3 and Strontium Clathrates are 3 m3. In reinforced mode, a small tower burns 100 strontium per hour and the reinforce timer is determined by the amount of strontium you add. At most it can reinforce for nearly 42 hours, but as a final act of defiance you can flip the timeout by 12 hours to screw with the attacker. I keep 3,600 in mine for a 36 hour reinforce because I hate everyone and I want them to lose sleep and suffer if they’re screwing with me.
You don’t need to add everything at once, but having enough on hand to power the thing for a few hours while you set everything up gives you some time to get more fuel and bring it back without needing a freighter to carry everything at once.
I’ll cover the things you’ll want to load up in the labs in another article coming soon, but I would recommend stockpiling at least a month of fuel up front so you’re not scrambling for it later. Setting up and running your fuel manufacturing side business for a month prior to your POS launch isn’t a bad idea if you’re going the “do it my own damned self” route. Part 2 will cover fuel production.
Anchoring 1. To anchor and online a POS tower and mobile labs you need Anchoring 1. Since you won't be using any defenses that's honestly all you'll need. Doing useful things with the labs, of course, will require much more than this, but that will be covered in Part 3 of this series, Maintenance.