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Boeing Bids Farewell To An Icon, Delivers Last 747 Jumbo Jet

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SEATTLE, Wash. — On Tuesday, Boeing said goodbye to an icon by delivering its final 747 jumbo jets in front of thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years.

The giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft since its first flight in 1969. It transformed travel by connecting previously unconnected international cities and democratizing passenger flight.

However, over the last 15 years, Boeing and its European rival Airbus have introduced more profitable and fuel-efficient widebody planes with only two engines to maintain, as opposed to the 747′s four. The final plane is the 1,574th built by Boeing in Washington state’s Puget Sound region.

Thousands of workers joined Boeing and other industry executives from around the world — as well as actor and pilot John Travolta, who has flown 747s — Tuesday for a ceremony Boeing marking the delivery of the last 747 to cargo carrier Atlas Air at the company’s massive factory north of Seattle.

“If you love this business, you’ve been dreading this moment,” said Richard Aboulafia, a longtime aviation analyst. “Nobody wants a four-engine airliner anymore, but that doesn’t diminish the aircraft’s enormous contribution to the development of the industry or its remarkable legacy.”

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More Than 50,000 Boeing Employees Worked On The Contract

After losing a massive military transport contract, the C-5A, Boeing set out to build the 747. The plan was to use the new engines developed for the transport — high-bypass turbofan engines that burned less fuel by passing air around the engine core, allowing for a longer flight range — for a newly imagined civilian aircraft.

More than 50,000 Boeing employees worked for less than 16 months to build the first 747, a Herculean effort that earned them the moniker “The Incredibles.” The construction of a massive factory in Everett, north of Seattle, required the construction of the world’s largest building by volume. The factory had yet to be finished when the first planes were completed.

Desi Evans, 92, was among those in attendance. He joined Boeing in 1957 at its factory in Renton, south of Seattle, and worked for the company for 38 years before retiring. His boss informed him in 1967 that he would join the 747 programs in Everett the following morning.

“They told me to wear rubber boots, a hard hat, and warm clothing because it’s a sea of mud,” Evans recalled. “And they were preparing for the factory’s construction.”

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State Of The Art Technology

As a supervisor, he was in charge of figuring out how the passenger cabins would be put together. He also oversaw the crews that worked on sealing and painting the planes.

“It was an incredible time when that very first 747 rolled out,” he said as he stood in front of the last plane parked outside the factory. “You felt ecstatic as if you were making history. You’re a part of something big, and it’s still big even if this is the final installment.”

The plane’s fuselage measured 225 feet (68.5 meters), and the tail was as tall as a six-story building. The plane’s design included a second deck very important extending from the cockpit back over the first third of the plane, giving it a distinctive hump and inspiring a nickname, the Whale. The 747 was dubbed the “Queen of the Skies” in a more romantic sense.

Some airlines converted the second deck into a first-class cocktail lounge, and even the lower deck featured lounges or even a piano bar on occasion. One decommissioned 747, built-in 1976 for Singapore Airlines, has been converted into a 33-room hotel near Stockholm’s airport.

“It was the first big carrier, the first widebody, so it set a new standard for airlines to figure out what to do with it and how to fill it,” said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation Boeing and mobility expert at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. “It became the essence of mass air travel: You couldn’t fill it with people paying full price, so you need to lower prices to get people onboard. It contributed to the deregulation of air travel that occurred in the late 1970s.”

The first 747 entered service on Pan Am’s New York-London route in 1970, and its timing was terrible, according to Aboulafia. It debuted shortly before the 1973 oil crisis, during a recession that saw Boeing’s employment fall from 100,800 in 1967 to 38,690 in April 1971. The infamous “Boeing bust” was commemorated by a billboard near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that read, “Will the last person leaving SEATTLE — Turn out the lights?”

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Delta Was The Last To Use 747 For Flights

The 747-400 series, an updated model, arrived in the late 1980s and had much better timing, coinciding with the Asian economic boom of the early 1990s, according to Aboulafia. He remembered flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific 747 as a twentysomething backpacker in 1991.

“Even people like me could travel to Asia,” Aboulafia explained. “Previously, you had to stop for fuel in Alaska or Hawaii, which was much more expensive. This was a no-brainer — and reasonably priced.”

Delta was the last U.S. airline to use the 747 for passenger flights, which ended in 2017, though some international carriers, including Lufthansa, continue to use it.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, recalled flying in a 747 as a young exchange student and said that when he realized he’d be traveling to the West Coast of the United States for the event on Tuesday, there was only one way to go: first-class in the nose of a Lufthansa 747 from Frankfurt to San Francisco. He assured the audience that Lufthansa would continue to fly the 747 for many years.

“We just adore the airplane,” he explained.

Atlas Air ordered four 747-8 freighters early last year, with the final one decorated with an image of Joe Sutter, the engineer who oversaw the original design team for the 747, arriving on Tuesday. Atlas CEO John Dietrich referred to the 747 as the greatest air freighter, owing to its unique ability to load through the nose cone.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

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Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.

sony

Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.

sony

Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Sideways Moon Landing Cuts Mission Short, Private US Lunar Lander Will Stop Working Tuesday

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A private US lunar lander’s mission was cut short after landing sideways near the moon’s south pole. It is likely to stop operational on Tuesday.

Intuitive Machines, the Houston-based firm that developed and flew the spacecraft, announced Monday that it will continue to collect data until the solar panels no longer receive sunlight. Officials estimate this to happen early Tuesday, based on the Earth’s and moon’s positions. That falls two to three days short of the week that NASA and other clients had anticipated.

The lander, dubbed Odysseus, is the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon in over 50 years, carrying experiments for NASA, the primary sponsor. However, it arrived too quickly last Thursday, and the foot of one of its six legs caught on the surface, forcing it to tip over, according to company authorities.

According to photographs taken by NASA’s lunar reconnaissance orbiter, Odysseus landed within a mile (1.5 kilometres) of its planned target at the Malapert A crater, roughly 185 miles (300 kilometres) from the moon’s south pole.

The LRO shots from 56 miles (90 km) above show the lander on the surface, but it is hardly visible in the blurry images. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s camera-ejecting experiment, which was supposed to record photographs of the lander as they both dropped, was called off shortly before touchdown due to a last-minute navigation difficulty.

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Sideways Moon Landing Cuts Mission Short, Private US Lunar Lander Will Stop Working Tuesday

According to NASA, the lander landed in a small, deteriorated crater with a 12-degree slope. That is the closest a spacecraft has ever gotten near the south pole, which is important due to probably frozen water in the permanently shadowed craters.

NASA, which intends to land astronauts in this region in the coming years, paid Intuitive Machines $118 million to bring six experiments to the surface. Other customers had things on board.

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Sideways Moon Landing Cuts Mission Short, Private US Lunar Lander Will Stop Working Tuesday

Instead of landing upright, the 14-foot (4.3-meter) Odysseus landed on its side, limiting its connection with Earth. The overturned lander covered up some antennas, and those that remained exposed ended up near the ground, resulting in intermittent communications. The solar panels were much closer to the surface than expected, which was less than optimal given the mountainous terrain. Even in the best circumstances, Odysseus only had a week to function on the surface before the long lunar night began.

Since the 1960s, only the United States, Russia, China, India, and Japan have successfully landed on the moon, with the United States being the only one with crews. Japan’s lander also ended up on the wrong side last month.

Despite its tilted landing, Intuitive Machines was the first private company to join the privileged group. Another American company, Astrobotic Technology, attempted it last month but could not reach the moon due to a fuel leak.

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Sideways Moon Landing Cuts Mission Short, Private US Lunar Lander Will Stop Working Tuesday

Intuitive Machines almost failed as well. Ground teams only activated the lander’s navigational lasers after its launch from Florida on February 15. The mistake was noticed when Odysseus circled the moon, forcing flight controllers to rely on a NASA laser-navigating gadget only on board as an experiment.

As it turned out, NASA’s test lasers guided Odysseus to a nearly perfect landing, marking the first moon landing by a U.S. spacecraft since the Apollo programme.

Twelve Apollo astronauts walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. While NASA occasionally sent satellites around the moon, the United States launched another moon-landing mission this month. Astrobotic’s aborted voyage was the first in NASA’s programme to promote commercial lunar delivery.

Both Intuitive Machines and Astrobotics have NASA contracts for additional lunar landings.

SOURCE – (AP)

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AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

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Nvidia’s market value has reached $2 trillion (£1.58 trillion), marking a new milestone in the chipmaker’s meteoric rise to the ranks of the world’s most valuable corporations.

Shares of the Silicon Valley corporation gained more than 4% in opening trading on Friday before falling slightly.

The gains built on the company’s impressive earnings announcement earlier this week.

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AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

The company is profiting from improvements in artificial intelligence (AI), which has boosted demand for its processors.

The company’s turnover doubled last year to more than $60 billion, and CEO Jensen Huang told investors this week that demand was “surging” worldwide.

The corporation, which became worth $1 trillion less than a year ago, is now the world’s fourth most valuable publicly traded company, trailing Microsoft, Apple, and Saudi Aramco.

nvidia

AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

After shares fell from their early Friday highs, the company’s market capitalization ended the day just under $2 trillion.

Nvidia was founded in 1993 and was originally recognized for producing computer processors that processed images, primarily for computer games.

Long before the AI revolution, it began adding capabilities to its chips that it claims to aid in machine learning, which has helped it acquire market dominance.

It is currently regarded as a vital company to monitor how quickly AI-powered technology spreads throughout the commercial world.

The firm’s stock price has more than tripled the previous year, from less than $240 per share to about $800 in midday trading on Friday.

On Thursday, the day after its earnings release, purchasers snapped up shares, boosting its value by $277 billion, the greatest one-day rise in Wall Street history.

He research has also contributed to a larger market rise, appearing to persuade investors that, as Derren Nathan of Hargreaves Lansdown put it, the AI boom is “living up to the hype”.

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AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

“It’s being used in automotive for design, in telecommunications for network planning, and in mainstream companies to figure out and get insights into data that they haven’t been able to get before,” Bob
O’Donnell, a technology analyst based in the United States, told the BBC earlier this week.

“This is now really starting to hit the kinds of companies across the board, not just specialized tech companies and that’s a real tipping point for the industry.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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