As the game opens you find yourself on one of many randomized planets, millions of light years from the endgame objective. This first planet, like (most likely) all other planets you will visit, are unique to your experience, and thus so too is the resource abundance. You will begin with a broken ship, and tasked with fixing it, and leaving the planet.
Two components of your rudimentary starship are disabled; the launch thruster, and the pulse engine. You'll need to craft Carite sheets to fix the thruster, and the material needed is iron, which can be mined from nearby rocks. Craft two sheets and use the one given to you automatically in your inventory to repair it.
Step two is fixing your scanner and analysis visor. The analysis visor will be used to identify flora and fauna in the game, both of which provides you with monetary gains once uploaded. The scanner, on the other hand, is what will point you in the direction of materials used to craft and repair items, and because of this should be the priority. Both of these tools are repaired using carbon and iron. Just as before, mine iron from nearby rocks, and mine plants to receive carbon.
Once these two are completed, you will focus on your pulse drive, which can be repaired with zinc, heridium, and a couple more Carite sheets that you'll need to craft. Use your scanner to look for the zinc and heridium, which will appear as yellow and blue markers, respectively. Zinc is almost exclusively found on plants, but if you cannot find any plants containing heridium, you should look for blue, vertical rock formations. These are large heridium deposits, and one formation is more than enough for the repair. Collect the materials necessary, and craft the Carite sheets to repair the Pulse Drive.
Finally, you'll need to fuel your thrusters and pulse drive. The Thrusters are fueled by an isotope called plutonium, which thankfully is one of the most abundant resources in this galaxy. For your pulse drive, you'll need Thamium9, but we will worry about that later. Begin by looking for red crystals scattered through the environment. This is plutonium. You should mine a few inventory slots worth of this to hold on to, as your thrusters will need to be constantly recharged.
Use this to refuel your thrusters, and climb into your ship. Look up into the sky and choose a destination and think of where you next want to explore. Imagine the stillness of space as you glide through it. Then hold L2 and R2 (on PS4) to take off. Fly towards the sky, and exit the atmosphere of your starting planet. Now look for the asteroids floating in free space, and shoot them with the laser attached to your ship (by pressing X). These all contain Thamium9. Blast a few asteroids and fuel your pulse drive.
Begin exploring the system.