A Proton-M rocket carrying the W-7 French telecom satellite was launched from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan at 5:19 p.m. Moscow time on Tuesday, Khrunichev Aerospace Center spokesman Alexander Bobrenyov told the press agency Itar-Tass.
The booster unit and the satellite separated from the rocket on a sub-orbiting trajectory, he added. “The satellite will be positioned on the designated orbit with five impulses of the booster unit engine,” the Federal Space Agency said.
The launch was initially scheduled for Monday and delayed for 24 hours (see Broadband TV News passim).
Commenting after successful spacecraft separation, Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen said in a statement: “We are delighted to announce that our W7 satellite is on its way to 36° East, and we thank ILS and Khrunichev for responding to our requirements for quality, efficient and timely service. This new satellite will be a key pillar for our business development at a well-established neighbourhood, addressing dynamic markets with clear potential for sustained growth. W7 will support expansion of pay-TV platforms in Russia and across Africa. It will also give us headroom to expand telecoms and data activity in a vast region embracing Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.
With three new satellites having already entered into commercial service in 2009 – Hot Bird 9, Atlantic Bird 4A and W2 – today’s launch also represents a new step forward in Eutelsat’s significant in-orbit expansion programme. Four additional satellites will follow W7 into orbit by the end of 2011 to equip us with the resources, flexibility and reach we need to capture further business opportunities in video, telecom and broadband markets.”