Thor 7 was successfully launched on Sunday from the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.

The latest addition to the Telenor fleet was placed into orbit alongside fellow traveller, the Italian military satellite Sicral 2.

Arianespace Flight VA222 lifted the Space Systems Loral 1300 satellite at 20:00 GMT. A planned hold of the countdown took place at 19:30, seven minutes before the scheduled launch, but well within the launch window.

The Ariane 5 launch ends a fraught couple of weeks for staff at Telenor Satellite Broadcasting in Oslo and London. Launchpad delays put back lift-off first by a week and then another 48 hours while technicians dealt with the disconnection of a flushing pipe.

A launch had previously been anticipated for Q4 2013, delayed in part by additional preparation required by Sical 2.

There remains another 6 weeks of waiting while in orbit tests are carried out by Space Systems Loral, before Thor 7 is officially Telenor property.

Morten Tengs, CEO, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting said this was a very, very happy and important day for the company. “Thor 7 is now on the way to its final destination and we can concentrate on growth.”

Decollage ToucanWith an 11-transponder Ku-band payload and Ka-band capability, Thor 7 will provide a welcome boost to Telenor’s maritime division. It will increase capacity ten-fold, and allow end users to adopt considerably smaller antennas. The fibre in the sky project will take data from the Antarctic and into mainland Europe.

There are spot beams over the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Red Sea, Baltic Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

For television there is additional capacity that will be welcomed by clients in Central & East Europe, where currently an approximate 9 million TV households can view a Telenor-delivered signal. For the first time there will also be redundancy for the other two satellites in the current 1 West fleet, Thor 5 and Thor 6.

Flight VA222 was the 64th consecutive successful launch for Arianespace and the first Ariane 5 launch since the formation of Airbus Safran Launchers, which manages the complete industrial supply chain from the manufacture of equipment though to the complete integration of the launcher in French Guiana.

Next month the 65th Ariane 5 launch will carry a new satellite for DirecTV.