Spatial travel using magic, while practical and reasonably wide-spread, has always had some unfortunate limits. The swap method requires you to know precisely where you intend to go, and the Gate method does as well; even aetheric gates require access codes before they allow passage to a destination on the transit network, and of course object size is limited by the standard gate dimensions. None of this is particularly useful for exploration purposes.
To overcome this difficulty, someone with a great deal of time on their hands came up with the concept of folding the aether multiple times in front of them and then tearing through sheets of it to the other side, which should have the effect of tearing through a great deal of space as well. Unfortunately this process takes a great deal of either power or precision, and most magic users have neither in the required quantities. After a great deal of failed experimentation, often fatal, research on the subject was stopped.
Eventually this research reached the repository of the Libraries. The Eighth Library in particular, for no discernible reason, took a keen interest in the concept and began intensive review of the process and why it had thus far failed to work. For the next few centuries it continued this project, gathering data to augment its theories, and finally came up with a solution using aetheric technology mounted on an aerospace vehicle.