In a recent public announcement, Nokia has stated that it has been chosen by NASA to build a 4G network on the moon. The ambitious project shall facilitate NASA’s Artemis Program, which has the goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024.
The telecom giant said that the first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022, before humans arrive back on the surface.
A Brief Overview of the Artemis Program
With the Artemis Program, NASA aims to land the first woman and next man on moon by 2024. The program will make use of high-end technologies to explore vast expanses of the lunar surface, including previously uncharted territories.
To get the project off the ground, the space agency will be collaborating with several commercial and international partners. The ultimate goal of the project is to establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade, learn from its research and then send astronauts to Mars.
How The 4G Network Will Facilitate Long-Term Human Presence on Moon
Nokia’s 4G Network shall provide communication capabilities for an array of data transmission applications, such as remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation, vital command and control functions, live streaming of high-definition video, etc.
The applications will help the human residents in numerous tasks that are needed for long-term survival on the moon, e.g. navigating through the lunar terrain, performing daily activities, and detecting environmental threats (lunar volcanoes, moonquakes, etc.).
Nokia’s Endeavour to Defy Conventional Limits
The 4G Network, much like all of Nokia’s previous projects, is an attempt to defy conventional limits and pioneer change in the world of technology. Mr. Marcus Weldon, the President of Nokia Bell Labs, said, “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.”
According to Mr. Weldon, the reliable and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. It’ll also reinstate Nokia as a market pioneer in producing innovation that defies conventional limits.
The Ingenious Design of Nokia’s Lunar Network
The network apparatus has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch and lunar landing. The network consists of an LTE Base Station with integrated Evolved Packet Core functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and high-reliability operations and maintenance control software.
Operating technology in space is challenging, and necessitates the fulfillment of various technical demands. For this reason, the fully integrated 4G network meets very stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor.
The Brand’s Goals with LTE Technology and 5G
In a recent press release, a spokesperson from the brand highlighted the effectiveness of its LTE Technologies saying, “The same LTE technologies that have met the world’s mobile data and voice needs for the last decade are well suited to provide mission critical and state-of-the-art connectivity and communications capabilities for any future space expedition. LTE is a proven commercial technology, has a large ecosystem of technology and component suppliers, and is deployed worldwide. Commercial off-the-shelf communications technologies, particularly the standards-based fourth generation cellular technology, are mature, proven reliable, and robust, easily deployable, and scalable.”
Touching upon the company’s future plans, the spokesperson said, “Nokia plans to supply commercial LTE products and provide technology to expand the commercialization of LTE, and to pursue space applications of LTE’s successor technology, 5G.