Nokia Gets 4G Lunar Contract

NASA wants a cellular network up there
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Nokia Gets 4G Lunar Contract
In this July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin carries a seismic experiments package in his left hand and the Laser Ranging Retroreflector to the deployment area on the surface of the moon at Tranquility Base.   (Neil Armstrong/NASA via AP)

To the moon, Alice! And call me when you get there. Yes, NASA is giving Nokia $14.1 million to install a cellular network on that big rock in the sky, Mashable reports. The idea is to deploy a 4G/LTE network—and later move to 5G—to "support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards," NASA says in a statement. Bell Labs, the research arm for Nokia, says on Twitter that the company wants the network to allow for streaming video as well as lunar rovers and navigation.

According to UPI, NASA says the system would also be used by "spacecraft." There's no timeline yet, but the move is meant to support NASA's plan to install a lunar base by 2028. It's also part of the agency's "Tipping Point" selections, designed to further R&D for space exploration with $370 in contracts. "We want to build the [lunar] infrastructure ... that is going to enable an international partnership for the biggest, broadest, most diverse inclusive coalition of researchers and explorers in the history of humankind," says NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. (More moon stories.)

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