Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Vodafone plans 4G on the moon for rover mission

PTScientists, a privately-held venture based in Berlin, Germany is aiming for a historic lunar landing next year.

The plan calls for delivering two rovers, or up to 100 kg of payload, to the lunar surface using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission will be to approach and study NASA's Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle that was used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon (Commander Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt) to explore the Taurus-Littrow valley in December 1972.

Nokia Bell Labs is developing a space-grade, 4G Ultra Compact Network that will use the 1800 MHz frequency band to communicate from the landing site to the remote rovers. Streaming HD video will be captured by the rovers and retransmitted back to Mission Control in Berlin. The networking gear will weigh less than one kilo.

Audi will supply the rovers.

Vodafone said it is thrilled to deploy a 4G mobile network on the moon.

Vodafone Germany CEO, Dr. Hannes Ametsreiter, commented: "This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure. It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit and inventiveness."

Nokia Chief Technology Officer and Bell Labs President, Marcus Weldon, said: "We are very pleased to have been selected by Vodafone to be their technology partner. This important mission is supporting, among other things, the development of new space-grade technologies for future data networking, processing and storage, and will help advance the communications infrastructure required for academics, industry and educational institutions in conducting lunar research. These aims have potentially wide-ranging implications for many stakeholders and humanity as a whole, and we look forward to working closely with Vodafone and the other partners in the coming months, prior to the launch in 2019."


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