E2: Milestone Starliner launch, SpaceX Starship success, the world's largest space camera install underway, and much more:

E2: Milestone Starliner launch, SpaceX Starship success, the world's largest space camera install underway, and much more:
It's been an amazing week for space exploration. NASA safely delivered a crew mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX knocked it out of the park with their Starship launch, China's Moon mission has thus far been a success, and much more.

Tony Morley, June 11th, 2024

Welcome to The Up Wing, Edition 2, the best in progress and optimistic news, collated, curated, and delivered weekly. We report on the past, present, and future of human progress, progress studies, and optimistic news. We're pro-growth, free markets, classical liberalism, Enlightenment, science, technology, and a better future for all humanity. We believe in telling the story of progress and inspiring a better future; after all, to quote Johan Norberg

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Boeing’s Starliner Has Finally Launched a NASA Crew Into Space

After months of delays, and technical troubleshooting, NASA's Boeing Starliner completed its first crewed mission on June 5th, 2o24, safely delivering Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station (ISS). Since launch, the mission, planned for just 25 hours, has been extended to June 18th, allowing the crew to perform a spacewalk and inspect Starliner.

"Wednesday’s launch was the third attempt with astronauts since early May, coming after a pair of rocket-related problems, most recently last weekend. A small helium leak in the spacecraft’s propulsion system also caused delays, but remained extremely low and manageable."
"Let’s get going!" — Butch Wilmore
Boeing launches NASA astronauts for the first time after years of delays
Two NASA test pilots blasted off aboard Boeing’s Starliner capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday.

SpaceX, Musk, and Starship score a big win with breakthrough soft ocean landing

"Splashdown confirmed! Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting fourth flight test of Starship!"

Rocking 74 meganewtons of thrust and defying many a naysayer — the SpaceX Starship not only failed to explode; it managed a controlled reentry and soft ocean landing, to resounding cheers from mission control, "Splashdown confirmed!"

"Today was a great day for humanity’s future as a spacefaring civilization!" — Elon Musk, X, June 7th, 2024
SpaceX’s Starship completes first full test flight after surviving re-entry
The flight marks a major milestone for a rocket system that may one day send people to Mars.

The world's largest [3.2 gigapixels, $168 million USD] space camera has arrived safely and is now being installed at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile

"The largest camera ever built for astrophysics has completed the long journey from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California to the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile, where it will soon help unlock the Universe’s mysteries"

Once fully installed and commissioned, the 3200-megapixel camera will help take ultra-high resolution images of the sky from the Southern Hemisphere for the next decade. The new $168 million USD, 6200 lbs (2800 kg) "Legacy Survey of Space and Time" (LLST) camera.

Largest camera ever built arrives at Rubin Observatory in Chile
The 3200-megapixel Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Camera, the groundbreaking instrument at the core of the NSF-DOE Vera C. Rubin Observatory, has…

There and back, China's Moon lander mission success is a small victory for space exploration

The Chang’e-6 lunar lander made a successful landing on the far side of the Moon on June 2nd, 2024. The historic mission will be the first to retrieve lunar regolith from the surface, and all things going to plan, return samples to Earth. The spacecraft has since safely collected 2kg (4.4lb) of lunar material and returned to lunar orbit on June 4th, on route back to Earth. BBC

If all goes well, the lander is expected to return to Earth around June 25th, 2024, landing in the deserts of Inner Mongolia.

China: Chang’e-6 far side of the Moon probe begins journey back
Chang’e-6 will bring home rock samples that could help scientists study how planets are formed.

A new shoebox-sized, AI-equipped satellite system can spot wildfires 500x faster

"The on-board AI model reduced data beamed back to Earth by 16% and used almost 70% less energy to perform the analysis while detecting fire smoke 500 times faster than conventional processing at ground facilities."
AI and satellite imager can spot fires 500x faster than on-ground
Wildfire detection is set to reach new heights – literally – thanks to a special CubeSat in low Earth orbit.

Root Source: IEEE Xplore

The United States now has enough installed renewable solar capacity to power a billion refrigerators

The United States has hit 180GW of installed solar power, enough renewable solar energy to power roughly a billion refrigerators. While this still accounts for just 4% of US electricity, installed solar capacity is growing rapidly.

"Based on current trends, the SEIA claims that the US’s total solar capacity will soar to 673 GW by 2034, providing enough electricity to power 100 million homes."
U.S. Solar Futures Study, Office of Energy, Efficiency & Renewable Energy
US hits 180 GW of solar power. Here’s how we get to 1,000 by 2035.
A quick look at the history of solar power in the US and the trends that could lead us into our sun-powered future.

Catan New Energies: Coming June 14th

The famous board game franchise Catan launches New Energies. Starting with inexpensive and high-pollution energy sources, players will invest in renewable energy and work with fellow players to decrease pollution and build a better future.

"new standalone game that is rooted in classic CATAN mechanics of harvesting, trading, and building. New gameplay elements including power plants, energy tokens, and environmental events add new strategies and stories to a familiar foundation."
Catan, New Energies, Coming June 14th, 2024 Pre-order here:
CATAN - New Energies
It’s the 21st century and Catan is at a crossroads. Catanians need energy to keep society moving and growing, but pollution is wreaking havoc on the island.

New treatments, new tests, and AI, a cancer summit showcasing breakthrough after breakthrough

The American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting shared breakthrough after breakthrough in cancer research and treatment—it was a summit of "extremely impressive" results.

Results that were described as "extremely impressive" and "off the charts" were just the beginning. This was not trivial progress but genuinely groundbreaking innovation and discovery.

‘Off the charts’: the key breakthroughs giving new hope in treating cancer
World’s largest cancer conference in Chicago shares ‘impressive’ findings in vaccines, drug trials and AI

"The process of making vaccines for parasites is extremely challenging – but scientists might be on the cusp of major breakthroughs."

"Just as similar vaccine technologies may be used across HIV and coronavirus vaccines, the strategies used for malaria vaccines are useful in regard to other types of blood-feeding parasites, says Bethony. "A rising tide lifts all boats here," he says."
Why it’s so challenging to develop vaccines for parasitic diseases
The process of making vaccines for parasites is extremely challenging – but scientists might be on the cusp of major breakthroughs.

Five children have now had their hearing restored in an "astounding" new gene therapy trial.

"Five children who were born deaf now have hearing in both ears after taking part in an “astounding” gene therapy trial that raises hopes for further treatments."
Gene therapy trial gives deaf children hearing in both ears
Study participants born unable to hear could locate sound sources, recognise speech and dance to music after treatment

Suicide mortality rates in China have declined considerably between 1987 to 2020

While reducing suicide mortality remains a considerable challenge in China, particularly among women and those living in rural areas, there has been a marked decline in rates over the last few decades.

"The urban age-standardized suicide mortality rate dropped roughly 66%, while the rural equivalent decreased by nearly 81%."
"By examining suicide mortality data encompassing 33 Chinese provinces, Zhang et al. found a 65% reduction in suicide mortality in China from 1990 to 2017."
The long-term changing patterns of suicide mortality in China from 1987 to 2020: continuing urban-rural disparity - BMC Public Health
Background Over the past three decades, China has experienced significant changes in urban-rural, gender, and age-specific suicide mortality patterns. This study aimed to investigate the long-term trends in suicide mortality in China from 1987 to 2020. Methods Suicide mortality data were obtained from China’s National Health Commission. Joinpoint regression analysis was used to examine changes in trends and age-period-cohort modeling to estimate age, period, and cohort effects on suicide mortality from 1987 to 2020. Net drift, local drift, longitudinal age curves, and period relative risks were also calculated. Results Crude and age-standardized suicide mortality in China showed continuing downward trends from 1987 to 2020, with a more pronounced decrease in rural areas (net drift = -7.07%, p<0.01) compared to urban areas (net drift = -3.41%, p<0.01). The decline curve of urban areas could be divided into three substages. Period and cohort effects were more prominent in rural areas. Suicide risk was highest among individuals aged 20–24 and gradually increased after age 60. Females, particularly those of childbearing age, had higher suicide risk than males, with a reversal observed after age 50. This gender reversal showed distinct patterns in urban and rural areas, with a widening gap in urban areas and a relatively stable gap in rural areas. Conclusions Suicide mortality in China has consistently declined over the past three decades. However, disparities in age, gender, and urban-rural settings persist, with new patterns emerging. Targeted suicide prevention programs are urgently needed for high-risk groups, including females of childbearing age and the elderly, and to address the slower decrease and reversing urban-rural gender trends.
Long-term trends in suicide mortality over the period 1987–2020

Zinc-air battery breakthrough could help drive forward the transition to renewable energy

"Researchers say they have discovered a way to make a highly efficient form of battery cheap enough to be commercially viable on a massive scale, which they claim could transform renewable energy."
Battery breakthrough could supercharge transition to renewable energy
Zinc-air batteries hold huge potential for grid-scale storage

Root Source: Check This: Sciopen

HIV rates in Zimbabwe have decreased by 50% over the last decade

Three big HIV trends in Zimbabwe are showing incredible progress — more people living with HIV know their positive test status, more people are getting effective treatment, and fewer people are contracting HIV.

"86.8% of adults living with HIV knew their status, and of those who were aware that they were living with HIV, 97% were receiving antiretroviral treatment."
"The huge uptake of ARVs has been the main reason for a 50% decline in the national HIV incidence over the past 10 years"
"HIV prevalence in adults (15-49 years) has fallen from its peak of 26.5% in 1997 to 11% in 2021. In 2022, the incidence rate of new infections was at 0.17%, and there was a decline in new HIV infections for all age groups. 
Meanwhile, AIDS deaths have also plummeted over the past 20 years. In 2002, an estimated 130,000 people died of HIV-related complications whereas by 2021, the death toll was around 20,200, according"
Zimbabwe Turns Tide On HIV – Although A Few People Still Refuse Treatment - Health Policy Watch
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Michelle and Michael Mutsvaki were infected with HIV at birth, but while their parents have shunned antiretroviral (ARV) medicine to treat

Bowel disease breakthrough as researchers make ‘holy grail’ discovery

“What we have found is one of the very central pathways that goes wrong when people get inflammatory bowel disease and this has been something of a holy grail,”
Bowel disease breakthrough as researchers make ‘holy grail’ discovery
Scientists pinpoint driver of IBD and other disorders with work under way to adapt existing drugs to treat patients

Progress Imprint:

More: A History of the World Economy from the Iron Age to the Information Age, Philip Coggan 2014

A sweeping history that tracks the development of trade and industry across the world, from Ancient Rome to today.From the development of international trade…

The Big Ratchet
How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis
Ruth DeFries, 2014

The Big Ratchet
How an ordinary mammal manipulated nature to become technologically sophisticated city-dwellers -- and why our history points to an optimistic future in the…

Last Thought:

Could low-carbon cement and steel be cheaper than we think? — Hannah Ritchie

"Green cement and steel costs 25% to 75% extra. But this increases the cost of final products – like a house or car – by just 1%."
Could low-carbon cement and steel be cheaper than we think?
Low-carbon cement and steel costs at least 25% extra. But this increases the cost of final products – like a house or car – by just 1%.

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