Pretty much but the idea is you choose between trading, exploring, piracy, mining etc to earn money to get a better space craft.
Some people just like exploring. I read about one guy who does nothing else but fly around the universe taking hundreds of pictures of all the planets and stuff he comes across.
It is initially very baffling but I'm getting to grips with it now and things are making more sense, it pays to go through all the in flight menus and play around with what is there, it helps navigation and finding targets a lot easier and thus making it more enjoyable. Can wait to get stuck into this properly.