EDIT: (WILL BE UPDATED TO SHOW HOW TO USE MINI MODS SOON)
HOW TO INSTALL THE MOD:
Ok. So you just downloaded Distant Stars. And your ready to kick SINS into overdrive. First things first though lets get that mod installed!
Our mod is in 7zip format. Which means you need to Google 7zip or WinRar. Im gonna take a stab and say you have got either one installed and ready to use. So, lets start by going to your desktop and creating a new folder. Name it Distant Stars for now.
Tada! Now comes the fun part. Open up your 7zip download. You should see this:
Now the version name and number might vary depending on what versions you working with but you will still see 2 folders. Distant Stars (whatever version) and Distant Stars Extra (whatever verision). For now just open the folder labled 'Distant Stars'.
As you can see these are all the modded files need to rock you world. So go ahead and extract these bad boys to that folder we made a moment ago(remember picture #1). Got it all extracted? Boss awesome lets continue then. Our next step is to put our Distant Stars folder you made (now loaded with sheer awesomeness) into the correct folder so the game can see it. So here are the loacations:
Windows Vista/Windows 7:
C:\Users\<Your Windows Username>\Application Data\Local\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\<Version of SINS Your Playing>
C:\Documents and settings\<Your Windows Username>\Application Data\Local Settings\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\<Version of SINS Your Playing>
C:\Users\<Your Windows Username>\Documents\My Games\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion\<Version of SINS Your Playing>
Remember that Appdata is a hidden folder by default. So you have to go into Exploer and allow hidden folders to be well unhidden. Found it? Here is a picture to help you know what it looks like:
Ok so we have our target destination now. So all you should have to do now is just drag your Distant Stars folder from the desktop to correct version of SINS your trying to mod. Here is a look at my current Mod-1.05 folder:
As you can see I got a bunch of version of Distant Stars. So this picture will vary depending on your Mods you installed.
Well all thats left is to start up the game, go to your options. Click on Mod tab, and enable the mod. REMEMBER!! After you move the mod over check the checksum! It shoudl match the number found on the end of the download. For example . If it dont match something when wrong. Could be one to many extra folders, or a bad download. When it matches go ahead and click apply on the bottom right. Simple mistake many make is forget to click apply. Game will load the mod and you are then clear to rule the Distant Stars!!!!!
PATCHING THE MOD:
Your taking a break from your domination of the universe and you happen to see there a hot new patch for Distant Stars! Refrain yourself from crying out in pure pleasure...I know it hard, trust me. Anyhow so now your left wondering how to patch. Lets cover the details:
First things first, go ahead and load up the game and disable the mod.
The patch just like the full download is in 7zip. I can safely assume you have the proper program to open it. If not, refer back to the full install instructions. Go ahead and open up your patch.
As you can see we have 4 items. Now the names of files might vary depending on the version your trying to patch but you will see the basic 4 items. The first thing you might notice is the rather bold DELETETHESEFILESFIRST.txt document. Im gonna say this is what throws people for the biggest loop. Also anything that needs to be deleted must be deleted from full install or what you currently been playing). Most of our recent patches have told you to delete everything execpt the Sound and Texture folders. I know you might be scratching your head as to why..so here is why.
As either the Devs change things, one of our merged mods is changed, or we change something some files are not used anymore. In the more recent patches ALOT of files fell by the way side. Since the game/mod doesnt use them anymore they need to be deleted to have a proper checksum and reduced the chance to crash something. We could tell you to go into each individual folder....find the outdated files...and delete them individualy. That seems like alot of work to me. Instead its easier to just delete the entire file completely.
So long story short, READ that text document and do what it say...no matter how crazy it may seem. Got those files/folders deleted? Good.
Ok here is what the inside of the patch folder looks like. Alot like the full install. Select everything here. Drag it to your Distant Stars Mod folder. Whats that? You dont remember where that is? Not a problem just refer back to the full install instructions. Alrighty, we ready to Drag and Drop? Yup that simple.
Now most of the time you will have this pop up:
Your gonna want to go with the option to Copy and Replace. This is overwriting the old file with the new one. Also might wann just check that Do this for the next XXXX conficts. Much faster that way
Alrighty so you got everything copied over from the patch to your Distant Stars Mod folder. Time to fire up the game. Go to your Mod tab, enable your freshly patched Distant Stars. Check the checksum. Make sure it matches.
Quick fun fact: If you hold down Ctrl+Shift+Tab it will window the game allowing you to easily check the checksum from the patch name. The checksum is at the end of ever patch and full download, always the number between the brackets. For example: 
If your checksums match, apply the mod...wait for it to load and start another game of epic!
Note: Patching might invalidate your saved games and/or cause crashes if you load older saves. Might wanna finish any importaint games before patching just in case.