SpaceX Starlink Group 3-5 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 2023-04-27 at 13:40 UTC. The launch will be from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The first stage booster, B1061, will be making its thirteenth flight, after a turnaround time of 55 days since its last mission.

This is the fifth 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.

Here is a pre-launch preview from Everyday Astronaut.


Launch has slipped one day, to 2023-04-26 at 13:40 UTC. I have updated the main post accordingly.


“Hold hold hold” at T−16 seconds. The launch was called off in the final countdown due to “probability of landing failure”. The launch is expected to be tried again tomorrow, 2023-04-27, at the same time (13:40 UTC). I will update the Webcast player in the main post when a new one appears on YouTube.