Nokia and NASA Get Together To Build 4G Cellular Network on Moon

NASA and Nokia have joined forces with a bold vision: to establish a cellular network on the Moon, laying the groundwork for sustained human presence on other celestial bodies.

Scheduled for launch this year aboard a SpaceX rocket (exact date pending confirmation), a basic 4G network will be transported to the Moon’s south pole. Once there, it will be deployed by a lander and remotely managed from Earth.

Walt Engelund, deputy associate administrator for programs at NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, highlighted the challenges of this endeavor, including the need for space-worthy cellular equipment that meets stringent size, weight, and power requirements, while also enduring the harsh lunar environment.

Nokia’s Bell Labs is constructing the 4G network unit using off-the-shelf commercial components.


This equipment will be integrated into a lander provided by US company Intuitive Machines, connecting it to two roaming vehicles tasked with locating ice on the Moon.

One rover, the Lunar Outpost, will explore the Shackleton Connecting Ridge, while the Micro-Nova hopper will descend into a crater to search for ice.

Images of any ice discovered will be transmitted back to Earth via the cellular network in near real-time, potentially unlocking valuable resources for future missions.

For NASA’s Artemis program, aiming to return astronauts to the Moon by the end of this decade, cellular connectivity is essential.

Engelund emphasized the importance of advanced communication systems to support high-resolution video and scientific data transmission.

The long-term goal is to establish a lunar communications network, enabling astronauts to communicate with Earth, share scientific findings, and even connect with loved ones using smartphones, akin to terrestrial networks.

Nokia and NASA (Credits: Intuitive Machines/Nokia Bell Labs)

Bell Labs’ selection for NASA’s Tipping Point initiative positions them as a key player in future space ventures. Their work, funded by a $14.1 million grant, aligns with broader efforts to develop technologies for the emerging space economy.

Thierry Klein, president of Bell Labs Solutions Research, emphasized the role of communication technologies in sustaining human presence on the Moon and facilitating robotic operations for resource mining and scientific exploration.

Beyond space missions, there are potential commercial applications for robust network technology, from remote industrial sites to disaster response and defense operations.

By pushing the boundaries of communication in space, NASA and its partners are not only advancing scientific exploration but also paving the way for innovation on Earth.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x