Intuitive Machines’ Moon Lander To Deliver Nokia’s 4G Network To The Moon This Year

30th Apr 2024
Intuitive Machines’ Moon Lander To Deliver Nokia’s 4G Network To The Moon This Year

Nokia is developing an LTE/4G communications system for the moon. The first part of Nokia’s 4G network will be sent to the lunar surface later this year as part of the Intuitive Machine’s IM-2 mission.

This gear will be, in fact, a “network in a box,” connecting Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander with Lunar Outpost’s MAPP rover and Intuitive Machines’ Micro-Nova hopper.

Nokia’s 4G Network For Future Lunar And Mars Missions

If everything goes as planned, Nokia’s 4G/LTE lunar network would offer greater bandwidth compared to conventional ultra-high-frequency (UHF) systems for space communication. This would not only speed up communication between astronauts but also enhance connectivity for autonomous lunar robots. Additionally, in the future, the network could potentially be adapted on Mars and upgraded to 5G technology.

“Like shelter, food and life support, communications will be a crucial component of any future lunar or Mars mission. Instead of ‘reinventing the wheel’ by creating a proprietary network in space, we are taking advantage of the same state-of-the-art technologies that connect billions of smartphones on Earth,” says Thierry Klein, president of Bell Labs Solutions Research at Nokia.

NASA’s Contracts For Nokia’s 4G Network

In 2020, NASA gave contracts to 14 companies to create “tipping point” technologies for the Artemis program. Nokia got $14.1 million to construct the moon’s first cellular network. Now, instead of making entirely new tech, Nokia is adapting its current hardware to work on the moon.

“Just think about the scale of operations on the moon over the next 20 years. There will be multiple missions in a single year run by different space agencies and even commercial ventures. There will be bases in different regions of the moon,” added Klein.

He also said that establishing separate communication systems for each mission would be economically illogical. Instead, it will be a good idea to utilize shared infrastructure in consistent locations and link the various lunar bases.

Concerns About Nokia’s 4G Network

However, radio astronomers have concerns about the idea of a cell network on the moon. They worry that Nokia’s 4G Network could create radio frequency interference (RFI) that disrupts radio observations. But this question still needs deeper research.

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