As to the rationale, it means you can now use all of your disks for claims. Similarly, you now use the big cube for a freighter, meaning you can use all of your small cubes for factories/colonies/glory points.
I understand this, but why are the outpost tokens all the same color. Why not use a new shape for the outposts in faction color. Of course I am free to introduce my own components. But I find the decision to use the same color for every factions outposts a bit strange and inconsequent.