Co-creator Mike Lloyd Ross was originally a Navy engineer, who brought the concept of the original pilot movie to producer Harve Bennett (best known as the man who killed off Mr. Spock a few years later in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Ross was not an experienced TV person, but after the studio green-lighted the series, went on to become the supervising producer for the first few episodes.
The series was difficult to write for because it wasn't a "franchise" show (like a traditional cop/private eye, doctor, or lawyer show), where potential cases (and storylines) simply walked in the door. You really couldn't just take an idea for a different show that was lying around and craft it for Salvage-1. It didn't work that way, not when your characters main mode of transportation was a homemade rocket ship!
The faux science on the show wasn't necessarily because of any hesitancy on the part of the production staff to be scientifically accurate (Isaac Asimov was a scientific advisor, at least on the pilot), but more because of the production realities of weekly television. They simply couldn't afford to launch and land a rocket ship every week, unless they fudged the science more than a bit.