Nokia says it has been exploited by NASA to create the first cellular communications network on the Moon.
NASA is rewarding $ 370 million to 14 companies, including providing technology for the Artemis moon-landing program. The program aims to establish a long-term human presence on the moon as a warm-up for missions on Mars.
The Finnish telecommunications equipment manufacturer said that on Monday its Nokia Bell Labs division would build a 4G communications system to be deployed in late 2022 on a lunar lander on the lunar surface.
Nokia released more details of its involvement last week following an announcement by NASA that it was giving $ 14.1 million to the company’s US unit for the network.
The US space agency is also funding cryogenic fluid management, lunar surface innovations, and other innovations in descent and landing capability.
The company said that Nokia’s network would provide significant communication capabilities for the tasks astronauts would need for remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and high-definition video streaming.
The equipment consists of base stations, antennas and software and is designed to withstand harsh trajectories and lunar landings and extreme conditions in space.
Nokia is partnering with the American company Intuitive Machines, which NASA chose to build a small hopper lander “that can reach lunar craters and carry out high-resolution surveys of the lunar surface at short distances.”
Reliable, flexible, and high-capacity communications networks will be critical to support a permanent human presence on the lunar surface, said Nokia’s chief technology officer, Marcus Weldon.