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Nokia wins $14.1 million NASA contract to set up first 4G network on Moon - it will eventually be upgraded to 5G

NASA has awarded Nokia of the US $14.1 million to deploy a 4G cellular network on the moon. The grant is an element of $370 million worth of contracts signed under NASA's "Tipping Point" selections, meant to advance research and development for space exploration.

"The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and supply more reliability than current standards," NASA noted in its contract award announcement.

According to United Press International, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a live broadcast said that the space agency must quickly develop new technologies for living and dealing on the moon if it wants to understand its goal to possess astronauts performing at a lunar base by 2028.

"We need power systems which will last an extended time on the surface of the moon, and that we need habitation capability on the surface," Bridenstine said.

Nokia's research arm, Bell Labs, provided more details during a Twitter thread. the corporate intends for the network to support the wireless operation of lunar rovers and navigation, also as streaming video.

"Working with our partners at @Int_Machines, this groundbreaking network are going to be the critical communications fabric for data transmission applications, including the control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography and streaming of high definition video," Bell Labs said during a tweet.

This is not Nokia's first plan to launch an LTE network on the moon. it had been planned to try to do this in 2018 together with PTScientists, a German space company, and Vodafone UK to launch an LTE network at the location of the Apollo 17 landing, but the mission never got off the bottom.