That week, NASA released the list of 14 companies contemplated by the Tipping Point initiative, which will be partners with the space agency in the development of technologies for future sustainable operations on the Moon. Among them, is Nokia, which will receive about US $ 14 million for build a 4G communication network on our natural satellite.
In 2018, Nokia and Vodafone had already announced the goal of carrying out a mission on the Moon. To that end, they planned to launch a lander and rovers built by Audi on a SpaceX rocket. At the time, the companies planned to define a landing site close to that of Apollo 17, and would have rovers examining the Lunar Roving Vehicle, which was left there in 1972. The launch did not happen, but this new contract gives a new boost to Nokia to the Moon.
In its statement of the contract with Nokia, NASA explains that the proposed system could support communication on the surface of the Moon at greater distances and speeds, in addition to being more reliable than current standards.
Services on the Moon could allow communication between landers, rovers, habitats and astronauts, said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA. “The system would also be extended to the ship,” he added. With funding from NASA, Nokia will be able to see how terrestrial technologies can be adapted to the lunar environment and provide support for reliable communications there. In the Tipping Point program, NASA funds technologies that, if successfully demonstrated, are likely to be adopted by private industry. “We want to build the lunar infrastructure that will allow international partnerships for the largest and most diverse coalition of researchers and explorers in human history,” commented Jim Bridenstine, administrator of the space agency.
The value of the research contracts for these missions on the lunar surface amounts to US $ 370 million, with most of the value being directed to large companies, such as SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. If NASA really wants to have astronauts working on a lunar base in 2028, new technologies will have to be developed – and fast, as Bridenstine pointed out during a transmission: “We need power systems that can last a long time on the surface of the Moon, and we need of surface housing capacities “.
NASA did not answer questions about the desired landing site on Nokia’s first mission, nor did it decide where Artemis missions will land – but Bridenstine stressed that the target will be a place close to the frozen water deposits at the lunar south pole. All of this is part of the ambitious plans to take the first woman and the next man to the Moon in 2024, a very tight schedule. Through the Artemis program, these first missions would take place by 2024 and sustainable missions would be carried out by 2028.
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