Telecom gear vendor Nokia will develop 4G LTE on Moon which will be the first cellular network on the lunar surface. The groundbreaking project is awarded to the Finnish tech giant which is part of NASA’s Tipping Point Program that aims at developing space capabilities to benefit future missions.
As part of the project, Nokia will deploy its 4G LTE communication leveraging the innovations from the Nokia Bell Labs’ on the moon which will boost the possibility of more human presence on the lunar surface. Through the advanced communication system, NASA seeks to strengthen its Artemis program which is about to see multiple operations by 2030 with an eye on the mission to Mars.
The network will help astronauts use mobile voice and data for several use cases such as HD video streaming, remote monitoring of instruments, exchange of telemetry and biometric data and critical commands, etc.
Regarding its lunar 4G project, Nokia said, “Our vision is to bring to space the state-of-the-art technologies we have developed for terrestrial service-provider and enterprise networks”.
Expected implementation in late 2022
The first un-crewed mission in late 2022 is expected to use the broadband connection for the above-mentioned purposes. Nokia is building a standalone 4G/LTE solution on an Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander. The first mission is considered key to understanding the preparedness of cellular technologies on the Moon and space missions and its future.
But space projects are hardly new to Nokia. In 1962, Bell Labs and NASA collaborated to launch Telstar 1 into orbit which was the first communications satellite that could convey TV signals between Europe and North America. Similarly, in 1964, Nokia’s researchers and Nobel laureates – Arno Penzias and Bob Wilson found out the cosmic microwave background radiation which helped corroborate the big bang theory being the origin of the universe. Nokia says, “We’ve always had an intense scientific curiosity that has led to some of the greatest innovations and discoveries are known to humankind”.
Nokia declared that its partnership with NASA on lunar 4G communication is one of the “greatest scientific endeavors of the decade”. For this, the tech firm is enhancing the technology used currently by billions of users coming off Nokia’s technologies.
A new type of 4G LTE technology for the lunar project
Nokia says it has built an ultra-compact, low-power, end-to-end networking solution for its 4G network on Moon. The radio and modems to be installed in lunar rovers are the same as the same user-equipment designs used on phones today.
Nokia has optimized these earthly technologies to meet the strict payload requirements of spaceflight, to withstand the vibrational impact of a rocket launch and lunar landing. Its 4G gears are expectedly going to withstand rigorously difficult conditions such as temperature, vacuum, and radiation. “We have created a network for the most extreme environment imaginable,” Nokia said.
Also read: 4G Vs. 5G: Everything You Need To Know
Matters for earth
Since the technology is at its core the same as used by current users, the project Nokia says will be key for future 4G technology development here on Earth. “By building a communications network for the Moon, we are building better networks for our customers on Earth,” the tech giant says.
Nokia says the 4G technology on Moon means it will help send more humans and more machines into space to explore study and find new opportunities for business ventures. Wherever humans and machines go, there will be the need for communication and Nokia says it is prepared to be part of such a journey.
4G LTE is a declining technology on earth as 5G adoption accelerates across the states. However, future communication technologies can owe a great deal to Nokia enhancing its LTE tech for space missions. In fact, 4G is still relevant in most parts of the world as 5G take over will take years so the mission is going to be full o benefits from all perspectives.