Alpha Centauri was our first gateway to the stars.  A year away via hyperspace, we had to plan very carefully before sending scouts or colony expeditions.  If anything broke, they had to be able to do without or fix it on site.  Our governments planned scientific and military outposts, where our best and our finest would prove that our nations were strongest.  What we got were frontier towns that had more in common with each other than those back home realized.