When NASA inevitably return to the Moon as part of its Artemis mission by 2024, the space organisation is going to need a reliable and efficient way for its astronauts to communicate with one another.
To achieve this, NASA has enlisted the help of Nokia to build out a 4G LTE cellular network on the lunar surface in a deal worth an estimated $14.1 million.
While speaking to United Press International, NASA’s associate administrator for pace Technology Mission Directorate, Jim Reuter, said having cellular service on the Moon could help support communication between lunar landers, rovers, habitats and astronauts.
He then went on to state- “With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications.”
To the moon! 🌕
We are excited to have been named by @NASA as a key partner to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.
So, what technology can you expect to see? (1/6) pic.twitter.com/wDNwloyHdP
— Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020
The contract Nokia was awarded is part of a larger $370 million investment into new Artemis funding, with companies like Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and Precision Combustion Inc also receiving large contracts.
“NASA’s significant investment in innovative technology demonstrations, led by small and large U.S. businesses across nine states, will expand what is possible in space and on the lunar surface,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Together, NASA and industry are building up an array of mission-ready capabilities to support a sustainable presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars.”