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Nokia to deploy 4G network on the Moon

Written by Wed 21 Oct 2020

LTE Network will enable lunar rover remote control, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video

NASA has selected European communications giant Nokia to build the first-ever mobile network on the Moon as part of a wider initiative to improve technology access on the lunar surface.

Nokia Bell Labs will begin building the bespoke LTE/4G network and aims to have it deployed by late 2022.

In order to deal with the unique conditions of space, Bell Labs will develop a small-scale, low-power, communications system that is more resilient than those found on Earth, consisting of an LTE Base Station with integrated Evolved Packet Core (EPC) functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and operations and maintenance control software.

“The solution has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch and lunar landing, and to operate in the extreme conditions of space,” wrote Nokia in a press release.

“The fully integrated cellular network meets very stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor,” the company added.

Nokia is also partnering with US-based autonomous systems provider Intuitive Machines, which will integrate the network into its lunar lander and ensure the system can self-configure upon landing on the Moon’s surface.

The network will serve a range of applications including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video. NASA hopes these applications will enable it to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon.

Nokia was selected as part of NASA’s Tipping Point initiative, which seeks industry-developed space technologies to boost commercial space capabilities and benefit future NASA missions. Establishing sustainable operations on the Moon is considered the next big hurdle in NASA’s quest to launch the first expedition to Mars, as laid out in the space agency’s Artemis road map.

“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.

“Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. By building the first high performance wireless network solution on the Moon, Nokia Bell Labs is once again planting the flag for pioneering innovation beyond the conventional limits.”

 

Written by Wed 21 Oct 2020

Tags:

mobile networks nasa nokia space
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