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DaneKoponen: Hey, another SR1 question here... I found a combat droid in a black hole. The thing just sits in my inventory and I can't figure out how to use it. Its description mentions that it protects me in combat in open space.

I have it parked in a planet store for now since it takes up 57 space.
I think you "activate" it on the ship screen. Going off of SR2... pick it up with your mouse and a little "activate" window appears to the left of the ship display. Drop the droid in there and it'll appear in space to fly around with you. I think you need to pick it up again before you leave the system, else it'll be lost.

Or I'm completely wrong. Been a while since I've played but I'm thinking it was something like that. You could also try dropping it out of your hatch but I'm not sure that will activate it.