SpaceX Starlink Group 3-4 Launch

SpaceX plans to launch 46 Starlink satellites into Shell 3, with an eventual 560 km circular service orbit at a near-polar 97.66° inclination, on 2022-08-31 at 05:40 UTC (the evening of August 30th in the launch site’s time zone). The launch will be from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The first stage booster, B1063, will be making its seventh flight, after a turnaround time of 51 days since its last mission.

This is the fourth Starlink launch into Shell 3, intended to provide service to customers in high latitude locations. This shell is planned to eventually contain 348 satellites in six orbital planes of 58 satellites each. All satellites in Shell 3 are equipped with laser inter-satellite links. The reduced performance of Falcon 9 when launching to polar orbits limits the payload to 46 satellites compared to the 52 to 54 in launches to lower inclination orbits. Around ten launches are expected to fill Shell 3, which will complete coverage of high latitude areas and provide continuous service to Starlink-equipped aircraft on polar routes.