AsiaSat 7 has been successfully launched by ILS Proton Breeze M launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and is now en route to its orbital position of 105.5 degrees East to replace AsiaSat 3S. The latest communications satellite to serve Asia, the Middle East, and Australasia was launched at 3.10am Hong Kong time on 26 November. Just over nine hours later, the satellite separated from its launch vehicle, and over the coming days, the satellite will arrive in geostationary orbit about 36,000km above the equator. "We are extremely pleased that AsiaSat 7 has successfully achieved this significant launch milestone. We greatly appreciate the efforts of our partners, International Launch Services, Khrunichev and Space Systems/Loral, for their precision and professionalism in achieving this launch success," said William Wade, president and chief executive officer, AsiaSat. "With AsiaSat 7 successfully launched well ahead of the planned date for AsiaSat 3S's replacement, we can assure continuity of service to customers, while at the same time adding to our on-orbit capacity to service new business." AsiaSat 7 is based on the Space Systems / Loral 1300 platform, and will provide customers with direct to home (DTH) broadcast services, as well as broadband multimedia and VSAT communications. The new satellite carries 28 C-band and 17 Ku-band tansponders, and a Ka-band payload. Its C-band beam covers Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and Central Asia, with Ku-band beams directed at South Asia, East Asia, along with a steerable Ku beam. It joins AsiaSat 3S at 105.5ºE, AsiaSat 4 at 122ºE, and AsiaSat 5 at 100.5ºE from the Hong Kong-based company's satellite fleet. AsiaSat has ordered two more satellites, AsiaSat 6 and AsiaSat 8, which are planned for launch in early 2014. Over 500 television and radio channels are now delivered by AsiaSat satellites offering access to over 620 million TV households across the Asia-Pacific region, according to the company.