How Apollo 11 gave you an iPhone

July 16th 1969, Neil Armstrong, Micheal Collins and Buzz Aldrin set off on a voyage the moon and on July 16th 2017,  Technology is everywhere – computers control everything from traffic, cars, mobiles, ticket machines, the way we pay for food and the way we live.

You can order a taxi from an app on a smartphone, use a ticket machine to get a train ticket, order McDonalds from a touch screen TV and pay for it with your fingerprint on Apple Pay, all that is thanks to the space race and the cold war.

All this began from one of the biggest battles in history; when the two superpowers, The U.S. and the then USSR (Today known as Russia), battled for Space Dominance.

The two ideologies; Capitalism in the blue corner and Communism/Socialism in the red corner collided and spent over 50 years in a stalemate war of words and ideology.

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin – The Apollo 11 flight crew.

In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy announced that the US would put a man on the moon. JFK said ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade not becasue it is easy, but because it is hard.

JFK when he delivered his moon speech.

It was a bold statement as he didn’t even know how the US was going to get a man in space, but with the help of NASA, scientific research and major technological advancements in America, the first man on the moon was an American, signaling one of the early victories for the West and capitalism.

The Cold War and the Space Race between the USA and Russia caused an economic and military revolution, the economy was boosted and we saw the birth of the Military Industrial Complex, this saw the two big boys, Uncle Sam and Uncle Marx – fight it out for the biggest military.

Nikita Chroesjtsjov (Former premier of the USSR) and JFK.

They created the biggest weapons and super-fast, supersonic fighter jets, the biggest bombs and the biggest death destroying nuclear warheads were created between 1950 and 1989.

When the Berlin Wall fell In 1989, the US had 22,000 Nuclear warheads, the USSR had 40,000.

All of these technological advancements were only achieved through technology and science and the competition between the US and the Soviets. If it wasn’t for the sheer speed and scale of the Cold War and the Space Race, the phone you’re reading this on probably wouldn’t be in your hand as the technology wouldn’t have advanced this far.

Apple store employees prepare to welcome the first customers into the company’s new store in Hong Kong on September 29, 2012. Apple opened its second store in the city on September 29, part of its plan to extend into the booming China market. AFP PHOTO / LAURENT FIEVET (Photo credit should read LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/GettyImages)

The average computing power of a smartphone today is the maximum amount of power a military supercomputer would’ve had in the mid-1980s.

It’s ironic, the key fundamental principle of Capitalism is competition, and thanks to the competition between the USA and USSR, the two countries were able to advance the world technologically.

At the end of the Cold War when the Berlin Wall in fell in 1989 and the USSR eventually collapsed in 1991, the scale and speed of the economic side of technology really took off.

Since the the 1980s, technology started to creep into everyday life. From the stock-market trading rooms of the square mile in London and the trading floors of Wall Street in New York, deals could be done electronically and on the same day. This kick-started the globalization of the world economy we see today.

As the years went by, the internet economy took off and this enabled humans to have the information of a library in their pockets on a smartphone. It allowed people to purchase products online on Amazon and have it delivered the next day. It has allowed us to buy groceries from supermarkets with the touch of a button and all these technological advancements we take for granted today are all thanks to the Space Race.


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