displays a black screen, what is its purpose? If I'm not mistaken it is to display a building/ship interior?
You should have that building model first, right? You must use the command "map" to load a *.map file, that must be in the models/buildings/. For example, to load a file named myhouse.map, you have to type:
Commands "scene space" and "scene universe" are equivalent, command "scene map" switches back to previously loaded map.
Default SE distribution have no buildings models. They can be crated with a Quake III map editor called Radiant. The forum already have a thread about maps: http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/11-713-1, where I post a link to the test maps: https://www.dropbox.com/s/etzt8ly6pkxn8f5/SE-maps.zip
The folder structure in 0.97 is changed, so open archive, enter its subfolders SE-maps/data/, and extract subfolders models and textures into SE 0.97 root directory (subfolder models from the archive must be merged with subfolder models in the SE root folder, and so on for textures).
After that you may load maps named v1dm6, test, dust, dust2 and dust_open. You must be near the Sun to see the scene, and set velocity to 1000 pc/s. Spacebar button launches a bunch of particles that will bounce the walls (you must have time unpaused).