You've encountered these upgrades time and time again when Survey ships explore Ship Graveyards. Improved Sensor Range, or improved Ship Speed, or improved Ship Range. I've had some ships go from a per-turn movement rate of 5 to >31, just from those improvements. Sensor ranges from 2 to 20+. Ship ranges improved to >100 from friendly territory.
Don't the ship captains ever bother to file progress reports that layout "How to build our ships to go faster, see further, and travel farther"?