Nokia has revealed further details of being chosen by NASA last week as a partner involved in the Artemis operation, specifically to deploy a cellular network on the lunar surface.
Nokia has proposed to deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space, and on the lunar surface by “late 2022”. The idea is that it could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability for communications.
The long term goal of Artemis is to pave the way towards a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.
“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 LTE network – the precursor to 5G – is ideally suited for providing wireless connectivity for any activity that astronauts need to carry out, enabling voice and video communications capabilities, telemetry and biometric data exchange, and deployment and control of robotic and sensor payloads.”
Nokia’s lunar network will consist of 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.
Nokia says the system 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 cellular network will also meet very stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads in an extremely compact form factor, it promises.
The original announcement was made last week as part of Nasa’s latest ‘Tipping Point” solicitation for commercial involvement.
The US space agency selected 14 American companies as partners to “develop a range of technologies that will help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the Moon by the end of the decade”.
The Nokia contract is to the value of $14.1 million.
“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.”