NASA awards Nokia a $14.1 million contract to build a 4G LTE network on the Moon
If you're planning on taking a trip to the Moon in the near future to escape the madness of this planet, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Nokia has been awarded a $14.1 million contract from NASA to build the first 4G network on the Moon. The bad news is that for now, the Moon will not have 5G service. NASA's current plans call for a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028. Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezo's Blue Origin, and a company named Dynetics will develop the human landers that will deliver humans to the Moon.
In late 2022, Nokia Bell Labs will "build and deploy the first ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE solution on the lunar surface." Nokia will integrate the network into Intuitive Machines' lunar lander and when deployed, the network will self-configure to produce the first LTE system on the Moon. The network isn't being made just so astronauts can use TikTok. Nokia says, "The network will provide critical communication capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video. These communication applications are all vital to long-term human presence on the lunar surface."
Nokia says that its LTE network is perfect for any activity that astronauts might need it for including "voice and video communications capabilities, telemetry and biometric data exchange, and deployment and control of robotic and sensor payloads." The lunar LTE network is designed to survive the harsh conditions of the launch and the landing on the moon. NASA says that "the system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards."
If you're bummed out that connectivity on the Moon is limited to 4G, don't fret. Nokia says that it will work on developing space applications for 5G connectivity. Imagine how fast you'll be able to download Apollo 13 on your 5G handset to prepare for your space flight to the Moon. The manufacturer is the second-largest networking equipment supplier to Huawei.
In its blog post, Nokia says "As a market leader in end-to-end communication technologies for service provider and enterprise customers globally, Nokia develops and provides mission-critical networks adopted by airports, factories, industrial, first-responders, and the harshest mining operations on Earth, for automation, data collection and reliable communications. By deploying its technologies in the most extreme environments, Nokia Bell Labs will validate the solution’s performance and technology readiness level, and further optimize it for future terrestrial and space applications."