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Died (at Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA), Joseph Priestly, English scientist (discovered oxygen)

J Palisa discovered asteroid #212 Medea.

N R Pogson discovered asteroid #245 Vera.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #817 Annika.

Died, Edward Emerson "E. E." Barnard, astronomer (Amalthea, Jupiter's fifth satellite; Barnard's Star, second nearest to the Sun)

M Wolf discovered asteroid #1219 Britta.

A Bohrmann discovered asteroid #2350 von Lude; and Y Vaisala discovered asteroids #1462 Zamenhof, #1463 Nordenmarkia, #1477 Bonsdorffia and #1478 Vihuri.

Y Vaisala discovered asteroid #2479 Sodankyla.

Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit, resulting in US Patent 3138743 A being granted 23 June 1964.

The US made the first successful launch of a Titan booster, to ~300 km (~200 miles) altitude.

Born, Yuri Ivanovich Onufriyenko (at Ryasnoye, Kharkov Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), Russian Air Force colonel, cosmonaut (Mir 21, ISS 4)
Cosmonaut Yuri I. Onufrienko, ISS Expedition Four commander, NASA photo (2001) jsc2001-02113.jpg
Cosmonaut Yuri I. Onufrienko, ISS Expedition Four commander, NASA photo (2001)

P Wild discovered asteroids #1803 Zwicky and #3021.

L Chernykh discovered asteroids #1772 Gagarin and #1890 Konoshenkova

1970 04:16:06 GMT
USSR launched the Luna E-8-5 No.405 Moon landing mission, initially identified by NASA as Luna 1970A. The first stage failed and the spacecraft did not achieve orbit.

Luna E-8-5 No.405 (or Luna Ye-8-5 No.405) was launched 6 February 1970. NASA initially designated it as Luna 1970A, and tentatively identified it as an attempted Lunar sample return, similar to the later Luna 16 mission. Subsequently released information revealed that it did indeed carry a 5,600 kg (12,300 lb) Luna E-8-5 spacecraft, intended to perform a soft landing on the Moon and return a sample to Earth. The mission failed when a defective pressure sensor caused the first stage to shut down 128 seconds after launch; the spacecraft did not reach Earth orbit.

See also http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/tent_launch.html

A golf ball was hit for the first time on the Moon by NASA Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard.

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.

1971 18:48:42 GMT
NASA's Apollo 14 Lunar Module ascent stage lifted off from the Moon, carrying astronauts Shepard and Mitchell back to orbit for their return to Earth.
see above

Died, Ira S. Bowen, US physicist, astronomer (Mt Wilson/Palomar)

P Wild discovered asteroid #2033 Basilea.

Perth Observatory discovered asteroid #3301.

N Thomas discovered asteroids #2779 Mary, #2999 Dante and #3352 McAuliffe.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #3316 Herzberg and #3506 French.

Starstruck, Inc., a private launch company, made the first attempted test of a sea-launch system, although the actual launch of their Dolphin rocket was aborted.

The Beagle 2 Mars lander was declared lost after over a month of silence following the landing.

Mars Express was the first European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Mars, launched 2 June 2003 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. It consisted of an orbiter, the Mars Express Orbiter, and a lander, Beagle 2. The scientific objectives of the Mars Express Orbiter were to obtain a global high resolution (10 m resolution) photographic geology study, mineralogical mapping (100 m resolution) and mapping of the atmospheric composition, study the subsurface structure, the global atmospheric circulation, and the interaction between the atmosphere and the subsurface, and the atmosphere and the interplanetary medium. The Beagle 2 lander's objectives were to characterize the landing site geology, mineralogy, and geochemistry, the physical properties of the atmosphere and surface layers, collect data on Martian meteorology and climatology, and search for possible signatures of life.

Mars Express arrived at Mars in December 2003 after a 400 million km journey and a course correction in September. The Beagle 2 lander was released on 19 December at 8:31 UTC (9:31 CET) on a ballistic cruise towards the surface. On 20 December, Mars Express fired a short thruster burst to put it into position to orbit the planet. The Mars Express Orbiter fired its main engine for 37 minutes on 25 December at 2:47 UT (9:47 p.m. EST, 24 December) and went into a highly elliptical 250 km x 150,000 km initial capture orbit with an inclination of 25 degrees. The orbit was adjusted by four more main engine firings starting on 30 December to the desired 258 km x 11,560 km near polar (86.3 degree inclination) orbit with a period of 7.5 hours. Near periapsis the top deck is pointed down towards the Martian surface, and near apoapsis the high gain antenna is pointed towards Earth for uplink and downlink. After 440 days the apoapsis was lowered to 10,107 km and periapsis raised to 298 km to give an orbital period of 6.7 hours. Aerobraking can be used to modify the orbit if there are any problems with the main engine. Nominal mission duration was planned to be 1 martian year (687 Earth days) but it was been extended multiple times. The orbit was changed in January 2009 to maintain illumination conditions. As of December 2015, the orbiter continues to operate.

The Beagle 2 coasted for five days after release and entered the Martian atmosphere on the morning of 25 December. Landing was expected to occur at about 02:54 UT on 25 December (9:54 p.m. EST 24 December). No signals have been received and the lander was declared lost on 6 February 2004.

See also https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=2003-022A re. the Mars Express orbiter.
See also https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=2003-022C re. the Beagle 2 lander.

Died, Kenneth H. Olsen, US engineer, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation

Died (cancer), Janice Elaine Voss PhD, NASA astronaut (STS 57, STS 63, STS 83, STS 94, STS 99, 49d 3.75h total time in spaceflight)

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