The Ship lab is responsible for researching new ship hulls, as well as new types of armor.
— In-game description
The Ship Lab is one of three research labs. Its primary purpose is to research new ships, armor platings for both ships and base modules as well as and cargo holds. An additional functionality is that the ship lab can research hull upgrades needed to produce crafting credits. It can't, however, research blueprint ships, such as the Destiny cruiser or Apocrypha cruiser.