There is actually a bit more guidance in it than to boldly explore the galaxy! If you go back to the Operations room in Starport, new notices will show up intermittently. The second one appears fairly soon in the game and suggests you to study some ruins of the old empire in a nearby star system. I haven’t gotten that far yet but according to everything I’ve read there is actually a fairly involved plot which you’re meant to follow by finding clues scattered around various star systems, and heeding the Interstel notices.
Yes rnlf beat me to posting it here, hehe. I recall reading the manual before playing it and thinking, oh so this thing has a story too? Cool, corporate intrigue, I wonder what the Union Aerospace Corporation will do in the game!
NOPE! I think the only part of the actual game which alludes to the UAC is some random textures which have “UAC” on them, in the storage crates in the second level if I recall correctly.