The first hyperspace engines were painfully slow by modern standards, achieving barely over four times the speed of light.  The trip from Earth to Alpha Centauri took a year.  While short compared to the later Pre-Contact Colonization Missions, let alone the Vulcan Missions to The Wall, NASA’s Centauri Missions were our first tentative steps into the galaxy.  And like our flights to Luna or Mars, it was scientists who were the first to live on New Earth.