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Died, Nevil Maskelyne, fifth Astronomer Royal of England
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, James Melville Gilliss, founded the US Naval Observatory in Washington
ref: en.wikipedia.org

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #222 Lucia.

Born, Max Valier, Austrian rocket pioneer, helped found the German Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (VfR - "Spaceflight Society")
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Karel Jan 'Charlie' Bossart (at Antwerp, Belgium), American "Chief Designer" of the Atlas ICBM and launch vehicle family
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #558 Carmen.

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #729 Watsonia; and S. Belyavskij discovered asteroid #849 Ara.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #863 Benkoela.

Born, Ulrich Hans Walter (at Iserlohn, Germany), payload specialist astronaut (STS 55, nearly 9d 23.75h in spaceflight)
German astronaut Ulrich Walter, STS-55 Payload Specialist, NASA photo (21 January 1993)Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable February 2020) Ulrich_walter.jpg
German astronaut Ulrich Walter, STS-55 Payload Specialist, NASA photo (21 January 1993)
Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable February 2020)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

At the time the world's largest airplane, the Boeing 747 made its first flight. NASA used a modified 747 to transport the Shuttle spacecraft, and two were joined to create the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1971 21:05:00 GMT
NASA's Apollo 14 splashed down in the Pacific, returning from the third mission to land humans on the Moon.

Apollo 14, launched 31 January 1971, was the third mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth, and the first to land in the Lunar highlands. On 5 February 1971 two astronauts (Apollo 14 Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and LM pilot Edgar D. Mitchell) landed near Fra Mauro crater on the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM) (with CM pilot Stuart A. Roosa) continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 6 February and the astronauts returned to Earth on 9 February.

Shepard hit golf balls on the Moon during this historic trip. Roosa carried seeds for the US Forest Service in his personal gear; the seeds were later planted by the Forest Service, and are called "Moon Trees" to reflect their journey.

This was the last Apollo mission in which the astronauts were put in quaratine after their return.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

L. Kohoutek discovered asteroid #1963 Bezovec.

1975 11:03:00 GMT
USSR's Soyuz 17 returned from docking with the Salyut 4 space station after nearly 30 days, setting a new Soviet space record.

Soyuz 17 was a manned Soviet mission launched 11 January 1975 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome which docked with the Salyut 4 space station. The flight crew was cosmonauts Grechko and Gubarev. The basic flight objectives were an extensive series of scientific and medical experiments onboard Salyut 4 and observation of effects of prolonged weightlessness on man. The flight was considered successful, and set a Soviet record for time in space. Soyuz 17 returned to Earth almost 30 days later on 9 February 1975, and landed 110 km NE of Tselinograd.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Sergey Ilyushin, Russian aerospace engineer (Ilyushin aircraft design bureau)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

L. Brozek discovered asteroids #2622 Bolzano and #3423; and T. Seki discovered asteroids #2396 Kochi and #2621 Goto.

Halley's Comet reached its thirtieth recorded perihelion (closest approach to Sun), as calculated from records including ones by Chinese astronomers.

In 2000 years of observations since 240 BCE, Chinese records have never missed a return of Halley's Comet. From those records, Cowell and Crommelin computed the dates of perihelion passage as:

 1. 15 May 240 BCE
 2. 20 May 163 BCE
 3. 15 August 87 BCE
 4. 8 October 12 BCE
 5. 26 January 66 CE
 6. 25 March 141 CE
 7. 6 April 218 CE
 8. 7 April 295 CE
 9. 13 February 374 CE
10. 3 July 451 CE
11. 15 November 530 CE
12. 26 March 607 CE
13. 26 November 684 CE
14. 10 June 760 CE
15. 25 February 837 CE
16. 17 July 912 CE
17. 2 September 989 CE
18. 25 March 1066 CE
19. 19 April 1145 CE
20. 10 September 1222 CE
21. 22.7 October 1301 CE
22. 8.8 November 1378 CE
23. 8.2 January 1456 CE
24. 25.8 August 1531 CE
25. 26.9 October 1607 CE
26. 14.8 September 1682 CE
27. 12.6 March 1758 CE
28. 15.9 November 1835 CE
29. 19.7 April 1910 CE
30. 9 February 1986 CE

Note that the precision of the dates from passage 21 onward could be computed with increased accuracy because of additional observations. However, at the time of their computation, the 1986 passage was still a future event. (The actual date was found from other sources.)

On 19 April 607, Comet 1P/607 H1 (Halley) approached within 0.0898 AU (13.5 million km, 8.4 million miles) of Earth. On 374-April-1.9, it had approached closer, having come within 0.0884 AU (13.2 million km, 8.2 million miles), and on 837-April-10.5, it became the third closest approach in history prior to 1900, passing within 0.0334 AU (5 million km, 3.1 million miles).

On 16 October 1982, astronomers David Jewitt and G. Edward Danielson using a CCD camera with the 5.1 m Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar Observatory were the first to detect Halley's Comet on its thirtieth recorded return.

See also The past orbit of Halley's Comet (SAO/NASA ADS)

See also Comet Close Approaches prior to 1900 (CNEOS)

See also History of Halley's Comet (Wikipedia)

See also Halley's Comet (CQ Press)

See also Comet 1P/Halley (Halley's Comet) (Smithsonian NASM)
ref: adsabs.harvard.edu

Died, Vladislav Nikolayevich Bogomolov, Russian Chief Designer of Isayev rocket engine design bureau (1971-1985), succeeded Isayev after his death
ref: www.astronautix.com

2001 10:51:00 CST (GMT -6:00:00)
NASA STS 98 (Atlantis, 102nd Shuttle mission) docked at the International Space Station to deliver the Destiny Lab module.

STS 98 was launched 7 February 2001 and spent almost 13 days in an orbit at an altitude of 177 nautical miles inclined 51.6 degrees with respect to the Equator. Seven of its days in orbit were docked at the International Space Station. While at the orbital outpost, the STS 98 crew delivered and activated the US Destiny Laboratory, and completed three space walks.

Addition of the Destiny Lab brought the space station's mass to about 101.6 metric tons (112 tons), surpassing that of the Russian Mir space station for the first time.

Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Robert Curbeam conducted three space walks that totalled nearly 20 hours. During the first space walk, they assisted shuttle robot arm operator Marsha Ivins in moving Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 and installing Destiny onto the station. During the second space walk, they focused on moving Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 from a temporary position to its new home at the forward end of Destiny. Jones and Curbeam spent most of their third space walk connecting cables and equipment outside Destiny, then performed some procedural tests to determine the best ways to help a disabled space walk partner.

STS 98 ended 20 February 2001 when Atlantis glided to a belated but textbook touchdown on runway 2-2 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The flight crew for STS 98 was: Kenneth Cockrell, Commander; Mark Polansky, Pilot; Robert Curbeam, Mission Specialist; Thomas Jones, Mission Specialist; and Marsha Ivins, Mission Specialist.
ref: www.nasa.gov

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