NASA announced that it has awarded Nokia a contract to deploy a 4G network on the moon. This contract is of $14.1 million and involves setting up a cellular network on the moon. It is a part of contracts worth $370 million, signed under NASA’s Tipping Point selections. This grant is for research and development in space exploration.
Nokia’s Bell Labs to develop 4G network on the moon, eventually moving it to a 5G network
Nokia’s (NOK) Bell Labs plans to develop a 4G/LTE network, eventually shifting it to 5G. The 4G network deployed on the Earth is with support of giant cell towers having large power generators and radios. Bell Labs developed small cell technology that is more limited in range but also uses lesser power than the conventional cell towers. The small cell technology is currently deployed for 5G networks across the world.
NASA announced that it would be the first LTE/4G communications system in space. This deployed network would support lunar surface communications at greater distances, improved speeds, and more reliability than the current standards.
4G network on the moon to support wireless operations of lunar rovers and navigation
Bell Labs plans to work jointly with spaceflight engineering firm Intuitive Machines and develop the 4G network. It said on a Twitter thread that the company plans to develop a network that will support the wireless functioning of lunar rovers and navigation along with the streaming videos. The 4G network built will be efficient and compact. It would be designed to withstand extreme temperature, vacuum conditions, and radiation in space.
No set timeline for the project but, it will be in line with NASA’s goal to develop a lunar base by 2028, says NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
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In a live broadcast, NASA announced that the network would extend to spacecraft and develop technology suited for the moon. Jim Bridenstine, a NASA Administrator, further stated that although there are no details about the timeline of the project, it will support NASA’s goal of developing a lunar base on the moon by 2028.