It would have made any space travel very difficult or incredibly dangerous.
Any orbit's going to have to cross the equator twice, so you either take enough fuel up to put yourself in a high orbit in a single burn, or try ploughing your spacecraft through a sheet of rocks at anywhere between a couple of hundred miles and hour and a dozen kilometres a second.
A good rule of thumb for judging how dangerous an asteroid belt or planetary ring is is how clearly you can see through it. Something like the Asteroid belt is relatively harmless as the vast majority of lines passing through it don't interact with anything at all. Something like Saturn's rings on the other hand would be suicide. Something that's opaque to light is going to be basically impossible to navigate without hitting something.
Generally, the less light getting through the ring, the less of your spacecraft will getting through it.
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