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SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2007
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Area News In Brief

Delta II launch delayed to July 15

The oft-delayed launch date for NASA’s Dawn asteroid probe, from a Decatur-built Delta II rocket, has been set back again.

NASA said the earliest date for the launch now is July 15.

After several previous delays, NASA had scheduled the launch for Sunday. That date was pushed to Monday, then extended again.

Mechanical difficulties with a telemetry relay aircraft, combined with the unavailability of a tracking ship and an unfavorable weather forecast for rocket fueling caused the latest delays.

When and if it happens, the launch should be the beginning of a major leap forward in space exploration. Dawn will take an eight-year trip to Ceres and Vesta, the largest rocks in the asteroid belt that rings the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.

The $449 million mission would be NASA’s first to orbit two different planetary bodies. The probe will collect data on space rocks that formed while the solar system was in its infancy, about 4.6 billion years ago.

Eric Fleischauer

Decatur man faces charges after search

The Decatur Police Department Organized Crime and Anti-Crime units searched a residence at 320 Autumn Lane S.W. and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia Friday, according to police reports.

Police arrested Patrick Terranzo Malone, 25, and charged him with first-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Malone is free from the Morgan County Jail on a $1,250 bond.

Sheryl Marsh

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