Starships that survive combat or striking space mines are often left damaged as a result. Damaged ships are at a disadvantage; they always begin a new combat with discharged weapons and partially or fully depleted shields, depending on the cause and amount of the damage. In addition, given a sufficient degree of damage, their maximum warp speed may be decreased (by one factor for every 10% past the first), and the available weapons may be decreased.
Starships can repair damage in space using supplies. If there are supplies in the ship's cargo hold and the vessel has any damage, the ship's engineering staff will automatically use them to repair the vessel at the next opportunity. Five KT of supplies will repair 1% of ship damage, but these repairs will not restore lost crew or recharge shields. Repairs happen both before and after the ship-to-ship and ship-to-planet combat phases, as per the Host Order.
When a starship is damaged, it is normal for the crew to do everything in their power to repair the damage, as long as it doesn't reduce the combat effectiveness of the starship. Because of this, all supplies that can be used for repairs will be used automatically whenever the starship is damaged. There is no way to prevent the supplies from being used in this way, except for keeping less than five KT of supplies onboard. Use of supplies for starship repair will take precedence over alchemy functions and fighter building, however, if a starbase is set to fix the starship, that will take precedence, preventing supplies from being used during the first repair phase. Damage to a starship after repair by a starbase may still cause supplies on the starship to be usedfor repair, but this would be after use of supplies for alchemy functions and fighter building.