GSLV Technical Problems Postpone Tauvex Launch

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Long-held plans to send Israel’s Tauvex ultraviolet astronomy telescope into space were dashed once again, this time due to technical problems with the fourth stage of its assigned Indian launcher.

Developed nearly 20 years ago by Tel Aviv University and the Elop electro-optics division of Israel’s Elbit Systems, the payload was finally scheduled to reach space along with India’s GSat-4 satellite. The launch aboard an Indian Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) had been scheduled for October, then November and finally January.

But program sources at the conference here said they may have to wait another year to 18 months for the Indian Space Research Organisation to correct problems detected in the GSLV’s fourth stage.

Tauvex originally was slated to launch as a piggyback payload aboard a Russian Proton rocket, but budget problems terminated the Israeli-Russian program prior to the planned 1991 launch.