Nokia has been awarded $14.1 million by NASA to build a 4G data network on the moon.
The grant is part of contracts signed under NASA’s “Tipping Point” programme and the space agency has a proposal to set up a long-term human presence on the Moon by 2030.
The $14.1 million deal is part of Nasa’s Artemos programme which intends to send the first woman to the moon by 2024 and the next man. The astronauts will begin to carry out comprehensive studies and explorations that the agency hopes will assist in establishing its first human mission to Mars.
Nokia’s network equipment will be remotely assembled on the surface of the moon using a lunar hopper designed in late 2022 by Intuitive Machines.
In a statement, Nokia said, “The network will self-configure upon deployment,” also adding that the wireless technology will allow for “vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high-definition video”.
In partnership with PTScientists, a German space firm, and Vodafone UK, Nokia planned to do a similar attempt in 2018 to launch an LTE network at the Apollo 17 landing site, but the mission never got finished.