News Science and space 04-30-2024 at 11:15 comment views icon

Nokia to launch LTE on the Moon in 2024… «It’s already happened»

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Andrii Rusanov

News writer

Nokia с помощью SpaceX запустит сеть 4G на Луне
Image by @kjpargeter from freepic.com

Space.com reports that Nokia is developing an LTE/4G communication system for the Moon. Its first part may be launched as early as the end of this year. The hardware for a simplified version of the network is to be launched later this year as part of the IM-2 Intuitive Machine mission, which is to land at the south pole of the Moon.

Nokia’s equipment will connect Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander with Lunar Outpost’s MAPP rover and the Micro-Nova bunker. The viability of the system will be tested at both short and long distances.

«Like shelter, food and life support, communications will be a key component of any future mission to the Moon or Mars. Instead of «reinventing the wheel» by creating our own network in space, we are taking advantage of the same state-of-the-art technology that connects billions of smartphones on Earth»,” said Thierry Klein, president of Bell Labs Solutions Research at Nokia, in a statement.

In 2020, NASA signed contracts with 14 companies to develop communication technologies to support the Artemis program. Nokia received $14.1 million to build the first cellular network on the Moon. Instead of developing a completely new technology, Nokia is adapting existing equipment for the lunar environment.

If all goes according to plan, Nokia’s 4G/LTE lunar network will provide more bandwidth than traditional UHF systems for space communications. This will speed up communications not only between astronauts but also for autonomous robotic systems. In addition, the network can eventually be adapted for Mars — and one day upgraded to 5G.

But not everyone is excited about the idea of a cellular network on the Moon. Radio astronomers are concerned that such a network could create radio frequency interference that disrupts radio surveillance. But Nokia can theoretically protect certain frequencies without disrupting the work of radio observatories.

Attentive readers will recall that they already saw something similar at ITC more than a year ago. Yes, last March, we talked about Nokia on the Moon, Nova-C by Intuitive Machines, and the Artemis mission. But given the postponement of this space program, similar news may appear in 2025 or 2026 year. It’s amazing that a year after the first announcement, Nokia is still «developing» hardware.


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