United Shipping is a large interstellar corporation specializing in small, short-deadline deliveries. New pilots are often approached by United Shipping representatives to join their roster of independent couriers handling lucrative and occasionally dangerous shipments of high-value cargo.
You gain access to these missions by visiting the bar on Earth. If you complete the first mission, you become a member of United Shipping. This gives you full access to missions, ships, and friendly treatment from other U.S. members.
Most United Shipping missions involve travel to a distant system to pick up a shipment and delivery to yet another system. Nearly all missions have an expiration date; if the shipment is not completed before the deadline, the mission fails and the player is not paid. For this reason, most couriers use small, fast ships with minimal hyperjump delays.
Run-of-the-mill missions generally pay 10,000 credits, which is not considered sufficient by most veteran pilots unless they happen to be headed to the destination system anyway. Lucrative United Shipping missions (those worth 50,000 credits and above) are almost certain to attract the attention of pirates.