As it prepares to return to the moon, NASA is looking for new technologies for communication in space. In 2020, the space agency signed a $ 14 million contract with Nokia’s Bell Labs for the development of a 4G LTE network on the moon.
Now, new information about the project has been revealed in an interview by Thierry Klein with Fierce Wireless. In particular, the director of Bell Labs noted that the space program will be the main focus of the lab’s work in 2021.
According to Klein, NASA wants to use a simplified, low-cost network on the lunar site. While 5G is the next step in the mobile industry, 4G performs better in communication and robot control.
Unlike traditional towers on Earth, the expert says the 4G lunar network will be made up of highly reinforced equipment. This makes them more resistant to radiation, temperature fluctuations and vibrations.
Despite the lack of atmosphere on the moon that helps spread the signal, the researchers see problems with range. On Earth, the towers are more than 30 meters high, while the landing module will be about 4 meters.
To this end, Nokia is testing a short-range communication system covering an area of 400 meters. At the same time, the company is working with a range-capable LTE package that projects the signal up to 5 kilometers away.
Communication from the robbers
To facilitate communication on the lunar surface, Nokia is working on integrating LTE equipment into the rovers being developed by Intuitive Machines. The devices will be compact with integrated radio, baseband and processing hardware.
In addition, Klein points out that the devices will be comparable in size to the mobile phones currently in use. So they operate on the same frequency as the landing module.