Nokia has announced plans to launch a 4G network on the moon by the end of 2023. The technology promises to pave the way for more lunar discoveries and create opportunities for a human presence on the moon and beyond.
At MWC 2023, Nokia Chief Engineer Luis Maestro Ruiz De Temino said the company plans to launch a 4G network to the moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the coming months.
The network, which will form the basis of NASA’s Artemis human spaceflight mission, will be powered by an antenna-equipped base station that will land on the Moon with Nova-C, with the help of US space company Intuitive Machines’ upcoming IM-2 mission. According to public information, the mission is scheduled to launch in November. That means the moon will have a 4G network before the end of 2023.
Of course, NASA’s current plan is to land two astronauts on the lunar surface in 2025, marking the first time humans have set foot on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and we don’t expect the 4G network to be available until then.
According to CNBC, Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander will carry the system and other payloads to the moon and eventually deploy Nokia’s 4G communications system in the Shackleton Crater in the southern region of the moon. This will allow an LTE wireless network connection to be established between mobile base stations.
Nokia says the technology is designed to withstand the extreme conditions of space and aims to demonstrate that ground-based networks can meet the communications needs of future space missions. Nokia added that its network would allow astronauts to communicate with each other and with mission control, as well as remotely control the rover and transmit live telemetry and live video back to Earth.
As previously reported by CNN, Nokia was selected by NASA to participate in the 2020 project, with its Bell Labs receiving $14.1 million.
In a blog post, Nokia said it would first test the lander’s short- and long-range communications capabilities, ranging from a few hundred meters to two to three kilometers. In a blog post, Nokia said the network is critical for “a sustainable future human presence on the Moon and Mars.”