National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA has awarded Nokia contract to deploy LTE network on the moon. This project worth $14.1 million (Sh1.5 billion), will see Nokia build first-ever LTE network on the moon – a major step towards a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.
The grant is part of $370 million(sh40 billion) million worth of contracts signed under NASA’s “Tipping Point” selections, meant to advance research and development for space exploration.
“The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and provide more reliability than current standards,” NASA noted in its contract award announcement.
The 4G/LTE network that will evolve to 5G is expected to provide critical communications fabric for data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video in the moon.
“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,” says Marcus Weldon, CTO 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.”
Nokia’s lunar network consists of 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 solution has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch as well as the lunar landing and to operate in the extreme conditions of space.
The end-to-end LTE network on the moon, pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs’, is expected to be ready in late 2022.