Not every universe follows the same physical rules as our own. But there is one, which follows ours so closely that, until its equivalent of the 1950s, it progressed in an almost entirely similar fashion. The difference that would deviate its future from ours was the approval for use of the nuclear pulse propulsion engine; better known as the ORION drive.
Able to lift huge payloads to orbit, and travel between planets, the ORION spacecraft made their owners prosperous. The three nuclear superpowers - the US, the USSR, and the British Empire - expanded. As technology improved, they expanded further and faster. With the development of the Alcubierre drive, the universe was at their fingertips.
Over launchpads across the worlds, huge explosions twinkle as they propel massive spacecraft skyward. The stars of Orion.
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.