I'd like to expand on an idea that has been thrown around already:
as exploding and respawning fundamentally breaks immersion, please give us the disabled in space mechanic. Please make us slowly drift through space helplessly when our hull hits zero and respectively a new ability to resurrect disabled ships. Something like "emergency repair team" or "warp core breach containment team", which is not an additional boff power but is instead available at all times to all players, same as resurrection works on ground. Being disabled could start a counter until core breach, which would eventually happen if not helped out by a different player. There could even be a mini game to reinstate core containment for times when other players are not around. Being disabled could leave the option open to abandon ship & self destruct or even call for fleet support which might also throw the resurrecting power at the player.