Engines are things that make ships go (in normal space). They are divided into two subcategories: thrusters to move forward, and steering to turn. There are three main types of engine technology:

  1. Ion engines, which are efficient for energy and heat, but take up a lot of space.
  2. Plasma engines, which are in between.
  3. Atomic engines, which are powerful and compact, at a cost of energy, heat & credits.

Outfit space is by far the most important factor, so you should upgrade to atomic engines when you can afford them. Deep Sky atomics are reasonably good, but the Hai engines are strictly superior, while the Korath ones are the lightest but also the hottest.