National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded $14.1 million to Nokia to establish 4G connectivity on the moon. NASA and Nokia’s research arm Bell Labs announced on October 15.
“Inspired by terrestrial technology, Nokia proposes to deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space. The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards,” NASA noted in a blog titled Tipping Point Selections.
“The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and provide more reliability than current standards,” NASA announced. “The system would also extend to spacecraft,” NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Technology Jim Reuter. “With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications.”
The combined award value for the project is over $370 million out of which Finland-based Nokia who owns the US-based subsidiary will receive $14.1 million.
Bell Labs, Nokia’s research-arm on Twitter, noted, “We are excited to have been named by @NASA as a key partner to advance Tipping Point technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.
“Our pioneering innovations will be used to build and deploy the first wireless network on the moon, starting with #4G/LTE technologies and evolving to #5G.
This fully integrated cellular network meets the stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in the smallest possible form factor. The mission-critical LTE network we have developed has been specially designed to withstand the extreme temperature, radiation and vacuum conditions of space, as well as the sizable vibrational impact during launch and landing on the lunar surface.”
NASA also noted that it plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 as part of the Artemis project and establish a sustainable presence there by the end of the decade. “The agency will use the Moon to prepare for its next giant leap human exploration of Mars,” the space agency noted.
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