Nokia has been awarded a NASA contract to bring 4G….to the freaking moon
Meanwhile, parts of the U.S. are still without 4G.
For All Mankind is an Apple TV+ Sci-Fi TV show in which both American and Russian astronauts create moon bases and live in it. But that’s science fiction, and the events of the show take place in an alternate universe almost 50 years ago.
But as it turned out, we will have our moon base in real-life as well. That’s what NASA plans and will try to execute through its Artemis program. NASA plans to return humans to the Moon by 2024 and establish a long-term presence.
NASA plans to do everything to allow its cosmonauts to feel as connected as possible to the earth. To that end, it plans to establish a 4G/LTE network connected to the earth’s internet.
Nokia was chosen by NASA to deploy the first lunar 4G/LTE communication systems. Nokia plans to partner up with Intuitive Machines, a private spacecraft design company, to send its equipment to the Moon by 2022. That’s two years before the planned arrival of the NASA astronauts. The idea is for a lunar lander to deliver the equipment to the pre-chosen location to self-configure itself and start broadcasting a 4G signal.
In its press release, Nokia said they plan to have a 5G network on the Moon eventually. But initially, the 4G network will have to do. Nokia has chosen the 4G/LTE network over 5G because it is a proven and reliable technology. On the other hand, a 5G network is still pretty much a novelty, and in many aspects, a work in progress.
The lunar network will need to withstand the launch, the landing of the lunar rover, and operate in space. Plus, the equipment will need to meet the uncompromising weight, power, and size space payload.
The future lunar network will consist of RF antennas, LTE user equipment, and a base station featuring an integrated packer core. The hardware will use a very reliable, custom-made operations & maintenance control software solution.
The 4G/LTE network will enable astronauts video and communication, data exchange, remote control over robotic devices, lunar rovers, telemetry exchange, etc.
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