Eutelsat’s W7 satellite has lifted off into orbit on a Proton Breeze M rocket.

The 5.6t communications satellite is built by Thales Alenia Space, based on its Spacebus 4000C4 design and fitted with up to 70 transponders connected to five high-performance fixed and steerable beams.

Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen said that the W7 would 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,” Rosen said.

The W7, colocated with W4, will double resources at 36° East and also enhance service provided by SESAT 1, which will be redeployed at an alternative location following W7’s entry into service and transfer of traffic.

The satellite has been placed into the geosynchronous orbit by the Proton rocket after a nine-hour 12-minute flight.