NASA today selected Nokia to develop what would be the first ever cellular network on the moon, a project that will use LTE technology. The NASA Nokia network will support NASA’s Artemis project, which is expected to build a sustainable presence on the moon by the end of the decade
High-speed communications will be critical to the project’s success. Nokia Bell Labs hopes to have the network ready for the lunar surface by the end of 2022. Intuitive Machines is partnering with Nokia for the project.
LTE communications is expected to be used for data transmission applications, including command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video. It looks like the moon is going to have to wait for 5G.
“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 Marcus Weldon, chief technology officer at Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs president, in a prepared statement. “Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.”
Nokia’s lunar network plans include 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 NASA Nokia announcement furthers the progress of a project first discussed a couple of years ago.