Thanks for the advice. I still have enough interest to pop in this forum now and then, if nothing else I enjoy hearing about the game from you guys.
I figure if I did this badly in the tutorial then I'm probably not going to succeed in the game anyways.
Space combat is difficult for me also. I can steer with the mouse but just for short periods. (If I had a high quality mouse, it might make a difference.) So most of the time I steer with the keyboard and use the mouse to correct. I've also mapped essential functions to the number pad. Offensive powers go on the upper keys (7/8/9), shield powers go on the middle keys (4/5/6) and repair powers go on the bottom keys (1/2/3) with a panic power on Zero (0). Beam weapons are set to autofire. Torps/mines may be set to autofire depending on the scenario.
Special keyboards and mice make space combat easier. I actually have a gamepad (Fang) but haven't located it after the move.
There are numerous strategies for space combat. Most players say it's the right combination of rare weapons and devices. My strategy is much simpler and actually originates in my experience on tabletop gaming - As long as I have superstructure (hull), I'm still in the combat.