«Ми розуміємо складності, з якими стикається польський уряд. І ми готові допомогти у вирішенні цієї ситуації»
WASHINGTON — Boeing said on Wednesday it was replacing the head of its troubled 737 MAX program effective immediately, the first major executive departure since the January 5 midair panel blowout of a new Alaska Airlines MAX 9.
Ed Clark, who had been with the plane-maker for nearly 18 years, departed as Boeing has been dealing with its latest crisis and has vowed to ramp up quality efforts.
Regulators have curbed the plane-maker’s production, and lawmakers and customers have been scrutinizing production and safety measures.
Boeing has scrambled to explain and strengthen safety procedures after a door panel detached during flight on a new Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9, forcing pilots to make an emergency landing while passengers were exposed to a gaping hole 16,000 feet above the ground.
Clark’s departure came after Boeing’s board met this week and approved the changes, according to sources familiar with the matter. He oversaw the company’s production facility in Renton, Washington, where the plane involved in the accident was completed.
Clark was previously chief mechanic and engineer for the 737 before being named head of the program in 2021. He was the fifth person in four years to run the 737 program.
Katie Ringgold is replacing him as vice president and general manager of the 737 program, according to a memo seen by Reuters sent to staff by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal, who said the plane-maker was working to ensure “that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements. Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less.”
The latest mishap occurred as Boeing was still working to rebuild its reputation following the 20-month grounding of the 737 MAX following two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people. That grounding was lifted in November 2020.
Airline industry executives have expressed frustration with Boeing’s quality control. The only other major manufacturer of commercial aircraft is France’s Airbus.
The memo was first reported by the Seattle Times.
The FAA grounded the MAX 9 for several weeks in January and has capped Boeing’s production of the MAX while it audits the plane-maker’s manufacturing process, which has suffered a string of quality issues in recent years.
The door panel that flew off the MAX 9 appeared to be missing four key bolts, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. National Safety Transportation Board in early February. The panel is a plug-in placed on some 737 MAX 9s instead of an additional emergency exit.
According to the report, the door plug in question was removed to repair rivet damage, but the NTSB has not found evidence the bolts were reinstalled.
The disclosure has prompted anger among Boeing’s airline customers. Some, including Alaska Airlines, announced they would conduct enhanced quality oversight of planes before they leave the Boeing factory.
WASHINGTON — A company from Texas is poised to attempt a feat that until now has only been accomplished by a handful of national space agencies but could soon become commonplace for the private sector: landing on the moon.
If all goes to plan, Houston-based Intuitive Machines will guide its spaceship named Odysseus to a gentle touchdown near the lunar south pole on Thursday at 2249 GMT, then run experiments for NASA that will help pave the way for the return of astronauts later this decade.
A previous effort by another U.S. company last month ended in failure, raising the stakes to demonstrate private industry has what it takes to put an American lander on Earth’s cosmic companion for the first time since the Apollo era.
“Accepting risk was a challenge posed by the United States to the commercial business sector,” Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said ahead of launch. “Our collective aim is to return to the moon for the first time in 52 years.”
The company plans to run a live stream on its website, with flight controllers expected to confirm landing around 15 seconds after the milestone is achieved, because of the time it takes for radio signals to return.
As it approaches the surface, Odysseus will shoot out an external “EagleCam” that captures images of the lander in the final seconds of its descent.
About the size of a big golf cart, Odysseus is hexagon-shaped and stands on six legs.
It launched on Feb. 15 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and boasts a new type of supercooled liquid oxygen, liquid methane propulsion system that allowed it to race through space in quick time, snapping pictures of our planet along the way.
Its destination, Malapert A, is an impact crater 300 kilometers (180 miles) from the lunar south pole.
NASA hopes to eventually build a long-term presence and harvest ice there for both drinking water and rocket fuel under Artemis, its flagship Moon-to-Mars program.
The U.S. space agency paid Intuitive Machines $118 million to ship science hardware to better understand and mitigate environmental risks for astronauts, the first of whom are scheduled to land no sooner than 2026.
Instruments include cameras to investigate how the lunar surface changes as a result of the engine plume from a spaceship, and a device to analyze clouds of charged dust particles that hang over the surface at twilight as a result of solar radiation.
The rest of the cargo was paid for by Intuitive Machines’ private clients and includes 125 stainless steel mini moons by the artist Jeff Koons.
After touchdown, the experiments are expected to run for roughly seven days before lunar night sets in on the south pole, with the lack of solar power rendering Odysseus inoperable.
Dubbed IM-1, the mission is the second under a NASA initiative called Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), which it created to delegate cargo services to the private sector to achieve savings and stimulate a wider lunar economy.
Four more CLPS launches are expected this year, which would make 2024 among the busiest ever for moon landings.
The first, by Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, launched in January, but its Peregrine spacecraft sprung a fuel leak and it was eventually brought back to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Spaceships landing on the moon have to navigate treacherous boulders and craters and, absent an atmosphere to support parachutes, must rely on thrusters to control their descent. Roughly half of the more than 50 attempts have failed.
The Soviet Union was the first country to achieve a survivable landing on a celestial body when its Luna 9 spaceship touched down and transmitted pictures back from the moon in February 1966.
Next came the United States, which is still the only country to also put people on the surface.
In America’s long absence, China has landed three times since 2013. India reached the moon in 2023, and Japan was the latest, last month.
Health care professionals are increasingly using artificial intelligence to better diagnose and treat serious medical conditions. However, with the use of artificial intelligence in medicine growing, there are concerns among medical ethicists about how emerging technologies should be deployed