"Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.
" - Christopher Columbus (1451-1506). Like the old world back in the 1400`s life was rather limited to what was surrounding them. New technological advances brought a new era pushing man kind beyond its borders.
The Age of Exploration brought famous pioneers into the new world.
As the drive to push further into the unknown territories brings competition between nations on next man to reach space.
The Space race 
pushed people to develop more technology towards Universe. The Universe is comprised of many unknowns that are a mystery to the world. To reach and to obtain the knownledge of the unknown world started
all the way back then since before the age of exploration 
. This lead to development in propulsions systems
that ultimately brought the first person outer space.
For more information on Space visit Space Wikipedia.