Frontier Developments announced some big news on March 29, 2021, and those in a hurry to get their space legs will probably be the most hyped.
Elite: Dangerous - Odyssey is set for launch at some point during late spring of 2021 so it probably translates to next June or early May if you're feeling optimistic.
However, testers will have access to this content earlier but not in the traditional gameplay sense. Alpha testers will be able to access the new mechanics and features through several phases:
Phase one will include Odyssey's core systems and will put everyone into a single star system in order to maximise player interaction. They will be able to buy Remlock Maverick scavenger suit and the Takada and Kinematic weapon sets and partake in a selection of activities such as salvage, collection and delivery. There will be no spaceships at this stage but the Apex Interstellar feature will be there for in-system travel.
Phase two will introduce the first-person combat experience where players will get access to the Manticore Dominator combat suit and faction conflicts will be enabled. On top of that, personal spaceships will become available for travel of up to 20 light-years. Trading with settlements and nearby systems will be enabled.
Phase three will allow exploring space at a distance of up to 50 light-years that includes unexplored planets. Supratech Artemis explorer suit will be available and players will be able to analyse alien organics.
Phase four will finally open up all the new goodies and players will be able to use their existing characters as well as test how existing features behave in Odyssey.
In order to participate in the test, you either need a Lifetime Expansion Pass perk from Kickstarter or Odyssey Deluxe Alpha pre-order. Both are PC-only.