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On October 4, 1957, the world was forever changed. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first satellite into space. This moment stunned the world and shocked the American people.
This singular event set off the Space Race and a time of incredible innovation and engineering, laying the groundwork for many of the technologies we rely on today.
One of the most significant innovations that flourished as a result of the Space Race was the semiconductor. While the federal government had played a major role in supporting the U.S. semiconductor industry since the late 1940s, it was during the Space Race when innovation thrived and semiconductor technology developed at an accelerated pace. The United States aimed to not only win the Space Race, but to definitively eclipse the USSR as the leading scientific and technology nation.
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese president Xi Jinping delivers a speech via video link to the opening ceremony of the Bo’ao Forum For Asia in Bo’ao in southern China’s Hainan Province, Thursday, April 21, 2022. (Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via AP)
But American innovation cannot be just part of our history. As William Shakespeare wrote,