One thing that has bugged me a bit about the exploration spaces is that they are still unexplored. Especially the first one you are told to go to that's right next to the Sol system. It doesn't make much sense that the region of space right next to Sol is still unexplored. So here's a simple solution: wormholes.
Have wormholes show up that have a stable point in known space, but a variable point in unexplored space. The backstory would say the variable point moves every few days, giving plenty of time to get back to the wormhole before it moves again, and giving a reason that all these systems are still unexplored. It shouldn't be too technically difficult to set this up, just make it similar to the transwarp conduits that we have in the game now. Because the variable point only moves every few days, there's no need for anything special to be done on the other side.