Even before people return to the moon, a full-fledged local communication system based on 4G may appear there. This task was set to Nokia by NASA, which has already allocated $ 14.1 million for the development of the project. If successful, the network will be rolled out as early as 2022, two years before the astronauts land.
The collaboration between NASA and Nokia is part of the “Tipping Point” program, which involves the allocation of investments to private companies to develop new space technologies. There is very little time – only a few years are left before the launch of the Artemis mission. Nokia came up with the smartest and most reliable plan, so they got the privilege of providing communications on the moon.
The 4G network is needed primarily to coordinate the actions of robots, probes, sensors and other automatic devices. It will provide real-time navigation, useful when traveling on lunar rovers far from the base, and will be used for streaming video in good quality. 4G will be used for telemetry, collection of biometric information and the actual communication between astronauts – voice and video.
Intuitive Machines will help Nokia get the job done. Most of the equipment, including the LTE base station, custom modules, and RF antennas, has been designed and manufactured for a long time. However, all this needs to be adapted to space conditions, including increased background radiation, and also to ensure that the equipment survives the flight itself and lunar landing.