In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'. Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectations about the final product won't be severe enough to...
Let go of your thrusters well before you think you have to, otherwise you're likely to hit something.
Look for patches of shade to let your shield regenerate.
If it looks like you're running low on fuel, head back to your base to refuel.