Locate and Acquire a Mining/Tractor Beam
The first objective you may want to complete is finding a mining/tractor beam. This is one of the most important equipment items in the game as it lets you recover cargo and mine for valuable materials (found in asteroids and planets). One of the most profitable activities early in the game is mining asteroids and this device is needed to harvest the ore. Asteroids generally carry valuable material that is easy to get to since they are in open space, but to find the mining/tractor beam, you may want to land at a city on the surface of Sapphire or a station in orbit where they are often available in the local
inventories. Once you find one, click on it in the 'Items for Sale' list to install it on your ship.
Once installed, travel back into space and head for the local asteroid field.

Click image to view a video on how to mine!

To get started mining, simply fly close to an asteroid and activate the mining beam. You can lock the beam on by pressing the default Alt-B key combination. If you are close enough to the asteroid to mine it, you will see hot red particles of the asteroid fly off from its surface as the beam cuts into the rock. If you do not see this effect, you're not close enough to the asteroid. In Sapphire, metal ore is generally not very valuable, so you can discard any metal you recover in favor of platinum or diamonds, which are far more valuable. To discard an item, simply click on its listing in your cargo bay. Once a cargo bay slot is empty, it can accept any material. But once one unit of a material is placed in a cargo bay slot, you can only continue to load units of that material type into that cargo bay slot. The reason for this is so you can manually manage what material you mine and it accommodates the different shapes and sizes of each material type. Each unit of a material is assigned a unique shape for every container that holds it. These shapes are only compatible with each other and must 'fit' together inside each of your cargo bay slots. Your mining and loading system will automatically take care of this sorting procedure for you, all you need to do is select which materials you want to keep or discard. You can pre-prime your cargo bays by buying or leaving only 1 unit of an item in each cargo bay, then travel to an asteroid field to mine. This lets you recover only the material you want while mining. To buy or sell individual units of items at a time, use right click instead of left click.

Once you have filled your cargo bay with the material(s) you want, travel to the nearby planet Rivoch to sell what you have for better profit. You can also mine the surface of planets for other valuable materials. Mining this way is a safe way to make decent credits early in the game.

You can also earn a few credits while you descend into a planet atmosphere. Keep your tractor beam on as you descend into a planet atmosphere to recover oxygen. This can be sold for as much as 30-50K once you arrive at a city by the time you land, easily covering the costs of fuel for the descent and also leaving you with plenty of credits left over.