As you may already know, the Finnish company no longer produces smartphones. The Nokia mobiles that are marketed today are designed and marketed by another company, HMD, which has obtained a license. On the other hand, Nokia is still a key player when it comes to telecommunications networks.
And this mobile network project on the Moon dates back to at least 2020, when the company obtained funding from NASA to create the first-ever lunar cellular network.
“The network will provide essential communications capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation, and high-definition video streaming. ”reads a statement released by the company two years ago.
She adds that to achieve the ambition of a human presence on the Moon, this communication network is essential. Quoted in a recent Fast Company article, a NASA official also explains that currently, the communications links on the Moon are point-to-point links, directly with the Earth.
This system is suitable for the current number of missions to the Moon. But this does not suit the long-term vision of the American agency, which intends to multiply the missions.
Soon, 4G on the Moon
For the moment, it is a small network that Nokia will deploy on the Moon. More precisely, it is a small cell that will accompany the Nova-C lander on the surface of the Moon.
Nova-C is set to launch next summer on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of Intuitive Machines’ IM-2 mission. This mission should also carry a rover. And precisely, the Nokia network will be used for communication with this rover, once on the lunar surface.
To develop the equipment that will go to the Moon (including the terminal, the antenna, etc.), Nokia based itself on the equipment used by the mobile networks on Earth. Then, modifications were made to adapt to lunar conditions.
Unfortunately, no 5G at the moment, because when the project started a few years ago, 4G was the best option. In any case, sending this small piece of equipment to the Moon will allow Nokia to validate the idea. Later, in the context of new missions, it will be possible for the company to deploy a 5G network, with several nodes.