The start of the space was only 50 years ago. The Russians launched a little satellite with a Ham Radio transmitter in it. The fun thing was to help make it easy to find they set the transmitter to just above the National Reference Frequency so it was easy for Ham Radio Operators to listen for it.
Now there are Ham Radio satellites up there you can link with.
Some major milestones in space history:
Sputnik the first artificial satellite was launched in 1957
2001: A Space Odyssey came out in 1968
Apollo 11 landed men on the Moon in 1969
Apollo 17 the last manned mission to the Moon was in 1972
Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 the same year as Star Wars came out and are still transmitting
A lot of investment was made back then but somehow things have gone astray. Where are the giant wheel space stations and lunar cities? Taking the long view it is unwise to leave all our eggs on one basket. We really do need to have some of our species off of this world, just in case.
There is plenty of hope left. The space X-price was just won and they are working on something better. God-speed.