Finnish multinational telecommunications company Nokia has been awarded a contract to set up a 4G network on the moon.
According to NASA, the KSh 1.5 billion project is part of NASA’s KSh 40 billion ‘tipping point’ in a bid to advance research and development for space exploration.
In its contract award announcement, NASA noted that once installed, the mobile network could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and provide more reliability than current standards.
To integrate its technology into the lunar lander so as to deliver it to the moon’s surface, Nokia will partner with Intuitive Machines.
The network will self-configure upon deployment and establish the first LTE communications system on the moon.
“Leveraging our rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first-ever cellular communications network on the moon,” said Nokia Bell Labs President Marcus Weldon.
Nokia’s lunar network comprises an LTE Base Station with integrated Evolved Packet Core (EPC) functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and high-reliability operations and maintenance (O&M) control software.
The solution is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of space and is built for a strong launch and lunar landing.
This will not be Nokia’s first attempt at setting up the Lunar LTE network.
It was first commissioned to undertake the project with PTScientists, a German space company, and Vodafone UK to launch an LTE network at the site of the Apollo 17 landing in 2018, but the project never took off.
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