Upgrading modules costs credits as well as materials. The credit cost is 25% of the module market price plus the laboratory fee of the station. Station's price modifiers have no effect on the price of upgrades. Lab fees increase as you progress further into the game; Astrox station has zero fee, and in each next station the fee is 250 credits higher than in the last one.
Upgrading a module in the laboratory increases that modules level. Each upgrade costs the lab fee in credits, plus 10X the following level of the module in materials. For example, upgrading a cargo module with brake speed modifier will cost the lab fee plus 10 of each material required. Upgrading that same module again with max cargo capacity, will cost the lab fee, plus 20 of each material even though you are only getting one of each upgrade. And so on and so forth.
Pro tip: if you intend to improve several aspects of a module then it's prudent to check the prices on the materials, and start with the aspects that require the most expensive ones. A handful of expensive materials and a lot of cheap ones is much better financially than the reverse. To get to level 10 costs 550 of each material and every 10 levels after cost an added 1000.
Upgrade level effects stack exponentially. For example, an Artifact Safelox X6 has an initial cargo capacity of 1950, and each capacity upgrade gives +2%. Each level increases the capacity based on the capacity of the previous level, so the actual cargo capacity after 100 levels is 14127.07 (approx. +624.46%). The upgrades that reduce certain aspects (fuel burn, turn lag, cooldown) work similarly; reducing the aspect by (1-X)%. So 100 levels of reduction will result in a decrease of 63,4%.
A concrete example is an Artifact Battle Laser - level 0 stats are 187.5 dmg and 1.75 rof (total dmg=107.1429/s). Increasing the Damage to level 20 is 187.5*(1.02)^20=278.6151->159.2086/s; upgrading the ROF to level 20 is 1.75*(0.98)^20=1.168314->160.4877/s which is slightly better (because 1/0.98>1.02). Upgrading damage to level 100 yields 776.2121/s and ROF to 100 yields 807.8964/s, a non-trivial difference of 4% (but at the cost of more energy, which remains at 4.1/shot).
Upgrading from 0 to 99 requires 49,500 of each material, assuming you use the same recipe for all 99 levels.
|Module Class||Module Type||Bonus||Refined #1||Mineral #1||Refined #2||Mineral #2|
|Static Modules||Armor||Increase Max Armor (+2%)||Iron Coring||Gradeon||Plastix Strand||Quazor|
|Cargo||Increase Brake Speed (-1% modifier)||Neutron Pod||Torim||Salt Crystal||Adamyte|
|Increase Max Cargo Capacity (+2%)||Goldyte Dust||Dynex||Plastix Strand||Quazor|
|Engines||Increase Max Engine Speed (+1%)||Iron Coring||Gradeon||Neutron Pod||Torim|
|Decrease Fuel Burn Rate (-1%)||Calciate Residue||Plasite||Iron Coring||Gradeon|
|Fuel Tanks||Increase Max Fuel Capacity (+2%)||Blackstone||Lokken||Plastix Strand||Quazor|
|Decrease Turn Lag (-1%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Neutron Pod||Torim|
|Energy Regeneration||Increase Max Generator Energy (+2%)||Black Stone||Lokken||Dynex Crystal||Dynex|
|Increase Recharge Rate (+1%)||Goldyte Dust||Dynex||Molecular Water||Quazor|
|Shields||Increase Max Shield Capacity (+2%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Plastix Strand||Quazor|
|Targeting Systems||Increase Targeting Range (+1%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Magnetic Quartz||Torim|
|Active Modules||Missile Launchers||Increase Rate Of Fire (-3% cooldown)||Plastix Strand||Quazor||Magnetic Quartz||Torim|
|Increase Missile Damage (+2%)||Calciate Residue||Plasite||Silveryte Powder||Plasite|
|Decrease Energy Use (-2%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Molecular Water||Quazor|
|Projectile Weapons||Increase Rate Of Fire (-2%)||Molecular Water||Quazor||Silveryte Powder||Plasite|
|Increase Projectile Damage (+2%)||Copperi Cubex||Lokken||Silveryte Powder||Plasite|
|Decrease Energy Use (-1%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Aluminium Shard||Adamyte|
|Beam Weapons||Decrease Energy Use (-1%)||Bio Carbon||Gradeon||Dynex Crystal||Dynex|
|Increase Laser Damage (+2%)||Calciate Residue||Plasite||Copperi Cubex||Lokken|
|Increase Rate Of Fire (-2%)||Salt Crystal||Adamyte||Blackstone||Lokken|
|Mining Lasers||Decrease Energy Use (-1%)||Dynex Crystal||Dynex||Iron Coring||Gradeon|
|Increase Mining Yield (+2%)||Salt Crystal||Adamyte||Magnetic Quartz||Torim|
|Increase Rate Of Fire (-2%)||Aluminium Shard||Adamyte||Molecular Water||Quazor|
|Shield Boosters||Increase Max Boost Factor (+1%)||Refined Metal||Pirate Ship||Industrial Parts||Pirate Ship|
|Afterburners||Increase Max Boost Factor (+1%)||Neutron Pod||Torim||Industrial Parts||Pirate Ship|