Nokia Will Deploy LTE Cell Service to the Moon by Late 2022

NASA has given Nokia a $14 million contract to create LTE service on the moon. Nokia will deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space. The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards.

Nokia Bell Labs’ pioneering innovations will be used to build and deploy the first ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE solution on the lunar surface in late 2022. Nokia is partnering with Intuitive Machines for this mission to integrate this groundbreaking network into their lunar lander and deliver it to the lunar surface. The network will self-configure upon deployment and establish the first LTE communications system on the Moon.

The network will provide critical communication capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video. These communication applications are all vital to long-term human presence on the lunar surface.

Nokia’s lunar network will have an LTE Base Station with integrated Evolved Packet Core (EPC) functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and high-reliability operations and maintenance (O&M) control software. 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. The fully integrated cellular network meets very stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor

Researchers have been working on Delay Tolerant Networks (DTN). Eventually, there will be space based internet and communications.

Written By Brian Wang,

12 thoughts on “Nokia Will Deploy LTE Cell Service to the Moon by Late 2022”

  1. Actually the argument for 5G isn't necessarily for the speed, but the better protocol support spread. Going from somewhat high data rate bulk data, to realtime voice comms, to low data rate IoT style sensors is in theory easier to accommodate with a 5G RAN.

  2. I think we will be surprised how fast the number of connected things can grow on the Moon, once we have a reliable transportation method to go there.

    A myriad of habitats, rovers, robots, probes, mining machines, etc. will pop up on the lunar surface. And all of them will need to be permanently linked to their remote owners and caretakers.

    Wireless connected machines have exploded in numbers around us already, we tend to overlook them because well, we don't have to manage the many wires they would need!

  3. If there were not multiple independent reasons to go to the Moon, I would strongly back tiny NEO asteroid capture, bring it to ISS, as first step. But "The trip to orbit" is the thing to avoid, so getting past it to ISM/ISRU is the key. ELEO takes no radiation shielding, but is harder to deliver stuff to, from the Moon or asteroids, than Gateway, L5 or such. Just make the stuff, then decide which orbit to put it in! Once in orbit, smooth sailing.

  4. The satellites on the Lunar one can be a little higher than Earth's version.

    That would increase the latency a little bit, but allow full surface coverage with less satellites.

    I don't believe some extra milliseconds of latency will be a problem, compared with full multi-Mbps coverage on the whole surface.

  5. Makes sense.

    The trip to orbit is an order of magnitude cheaper than going to the Moon.

    But the trip to the Moon is also an order of magnitude cheaper than the trip to Mars.

    Therefore, human use and occupation of space will tend to follow that order of costs.

    Until we have loci of generative human life in space (namely, settlements), that is. Those will radiate human activities towards their immediate vicinity.

    Because human beings are net value creators, no matter what the Luddites and Malthusians say.

  6. So, the idea battle shifts. From Moon for/before Mars v Mars First/Direct/Only, Moon for/before Mars has won. O'Neill plan has won, sort of. To Moon and/instead of Mars v mostly Mars. Moon has won that one, apparently, and is Mars' equal in interest. Again, O'Neill plan wins, sort of. To ISM v Moon surface. (forget Mars from here on). Is the surface of a planet the right place for x? O'Neill only plans to go to the Moon to get stuff, not live. A big question, right on our doorstep! Al Globus ELEO or lunar base, to DO stuff, not just be. Humans on Moon as little as possible, for setting up resource extraction, NOT factories! There may be some exceptions, such as radio telescopes on far side of Moon, or solar panels lying on surface, but what can we do on the Moon we cannot do in Space?? What can we do in Space we cannot do on planets?????????

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