Nokia will soon boldly go where no phone company has go before. The telecommunications company partnered with NASA to build the first 4G mobile network on the moon.
Nokia announced on Oct. 19 that its U.S. industrial research branch, Bell Labs, is teaming up with NASA. The branch will provide NASA with equipment to help build its network on the moon. They plan to begin launching the network in 2022.
According to the company, the network will revolutionize connectivity between Earth and its lunar satellite. Astronauts could perform many of the same online functions they could on Earth. For instance, they could perform voice and video calls as well as send important data through the network.
“Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface,” Nokia’s chief technology officer, Marcus Weldon, said in a press release.
NASA Paid Nokia $14 Million For The Project
According to NASA, they paid Nokia $14.1 million for the project. It is one of several investments when it comes to lunar colonization.
NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon by the year 2024. This would be the first time the program has sent a human to earth’s satellite in around five decades. They also plan to establish a “sustainable” human presence on the moon by 2028. To accomplish this goal, the space program partnered with SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics. These companies will help develop human landers for the mission.
The telecommunications company plans to eventually launch 5G service on the moon. NASA said the system “could support lunar surface communications at greater distances” and “increased speeds”. The system also provides “more reliability than current standards.”
Weldon said the materials for the network have been specially designed for an environment like the moon.
“The solution has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch and lunar landing. And to operate in the extreme conditions of space,” Weldon said. “The fully integrated cellular network meets very stringent size, weight, and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor.”