NASA awards Nokia contract to set up 4G network on moon

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San Francisco: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded Nokia of the US $14.1 million to deploy a 4G cellular network on the moon.

The grant is part of $370 million worth of contracts signed under NASA`s "Tipping Point" selections, meant to advance research and development for space exploration.

To the moon! 

We are excited to have been named by @NASA as a key partner to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

So, what technology can you expect to see? (1/6) pic.twitter.com/wDNwloyHdP

— Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020

"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.

According to United Press International, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a live broadcast said that the space agency must quickly develop new technologies for living and working on the moon if it wants to realise its goal to have astronauts working at a lunar base by 2028.

"We need power systems that can last a long time on the surface of the moon, and we need habitation capability on the surface," Bridenstine said.

Nokia`s research arm, Bell Labs, provided more details in a Twitter thread. The company intends for the network to support the wireless operation of lunar rovers and navigation, as well as streaming video.

"Working with our partners at @Int_Machines, this groundbreaking network will be the critical communications fabric for data transmission applications, including the control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography and streaming of high definition video," Bell Labs said in a tweet.

Working with our partners at @Int_Machines, this groundbreaking network will be the critical communications fabric for data transmission applications, including the control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography, & streaming of high definition video. (3/6)

— Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020

This fully integrated cellular network meets the stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in the smallest possible form factor. (5/6)

— Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020

As per reports, this is not Nokia`s first attempt to launch an LTE network on the moon as back in 2018, it was planned to do this in collaboration with PTScientists which is a German space company, and Vodafone UK to launch an LTE network at the site of the Apollo 17 landing. This couldn't happen as the mission reportedly never got off the ground.

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