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The ninth known perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred, as determined from records by Chinese astronomers.
ref: adsabs.harvard.edu

Born, Georg Joachim Rheticus, astronomer, mathematician, among the first to adopt and spread the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Pierre Bouguer, French mathematician, astronomer, inventor (heliometer, for photometry, the measurement of light intensities)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Charles Messier presented his original list of 45 M-objects to the French Academy.
ref: www.messier.seds.org

C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #213 Lilaea.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers was formed in New York City, the first meeting held in the editorial offices of the American Machinist with thirty people in attendance, chaired by prominent steel engineer Alexander Lyman Holley.
ref: www.asme.org

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #305 Gordonia.

A. Kopff discovered asteroid #585 Bilkis; and J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroids #602 Marianna, #603 Timandra and #604 Tekmessa.

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #728 Leonisis.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #927 Ratisbona.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #1391 Carelia, #1454 Kalevala, #1448 Lindbladia and #1479 Inkeri.

Born, Valentin V. Bondarenko (at Kharkov, Kharkov Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), cosmonaut candidate (deceased, low pressure room fire)
ref: www.spacefacts.de

Uranus' moon Miranda was discovered by Gerard Kuiper. "The origin and evolution of [its] varied geology ... are still not fully understood, and multiple hypotheses exist ..."
Miranda, a moon of Uranus, Voyager 2 photo PIA18185 Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech PIA18185_modest.jpg
Miranda, a moon of Uranus, Voyager 2 photo PIA18185
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1961 13:12:00 GMT
The first successful launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, Explorer 9, was the first satellite put in orbit by an all-solid fuel booster.

Explorer 9, launched 16 February 1961, was the first spacecraft placed in orbit by an all-solid rocket, and the first spacecraft successfully launched from Wallops Island. It was the first in a series of 12 foot (3.66 m) inflatable spheres successfully placed into orbit for the determination of atmospheric densities. The spacecraft consisted of alternating layers of aluminum foil and Mylar polyester film. Uniformly distributed over the aluminum surface were 2 inch (5.1 cm) diameter dots of white paint for thermal control. The sphere was packed in a tube 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) in diameter and 19 inches (48.3 cm) long and mounted in the nose of the fourth stage of the launch vehicle. Upon separation of the third and fourth stages, a nitrogen gas bottle inflated the sphere and a separation spring ejected it out into its own orbit.

The two hemispheres of aluminum foil were separated with a gap of Mylar at the spacecraft's equator and served as the antenna. A 136 MHz, 15 mW beacon, powered by solar cells and rechargable batteries, was carried for tracking purposes. The beacon failed on the first orbit, so the SAO Baker-Nunn camera network had to be relied upon for tracking.

Explorer 9 reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 9 April 1964.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

USSR selected five women as cosmonaut candidates, including Valentina Tereshkova who became the first woman in space.
ref: www.esa.int

1965 14:38:00 GMT
NASA launched Pegasus 1 to detect micro-meteors in the first test of the Apollo/Saturn operation and compatibility.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2548 Leloir.

The first computer bulletin board system was created (Ward & Randy's CBBS in Chicago, Illinois). Bulletin board systems were a popular predecessor to Web sites before the Internet existed.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Mahrova discovered asteroid #3492.

S. Inoda and T. Urata discovered asteroid #3394.

An annular eclipse was visible over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
ref: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov

2001 08:06:00 CST (GMT -6:00:00)
NASA STS 98 (Atlantis, 102nd Shuttle mission) undocked from the International Space Station after delivering 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

Died, Konrad Dannenberg, German guided missile propulsion expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Deputy Manager of NASA's Saturn program (1960), successfully developed the largest rocket ever built (Saturn V)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

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