The Spacelab Headquarters comes with advanced analysis and decoding systems, that allow the Reverse Engineering of ships. This process has a high initial cost, as it involves the dismantling of the ship to be Reverse Engineered. The resulting blueprint is the first step towards production independence.
Blueprints for many types of ships, stations and equipment can be acquired by assigning Agents to use their diplomatic influence, or be found in crates that have been discovered with the aid of the Low Frequency Locator. The Explorers Guild may also provide blueprints on occasion. However, certain blueprints can only be obtained through Reverse Engineering.
NOTE that Reverse Engineering never yields resources, & may take several RL hours to complete for large, complicated hulls (eg M6 or TL & above) unless SETA is used aggressively