Berlin-based PTScientists have been working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to make the first privately-funded Moon launch a success. Vodafone is trying to provide 4G network coverage on the Moon and has selected Nokia as its partner for technological assistance.
The Mission to Moon, due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, will use Vodafone’s network expertise to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar Quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA). For its part, Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network, which, weighing less than a kilo will be the lightest ever developed.
The Audi lunar Quattro rovers aim 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. The collected scientific data and HD videos will then be communicated using Vodafone’s 4G network, more specifically the 1800 MHz frequency band. The first ever HD videos thus communicated will be broadcasted to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists’ server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin.
The following comments have been made by the people associated with the project:
This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system. In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet. With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon. The great thing about this LTE solution is that it saves so much power, and the less energy we use sending data, the more we have to do science – Robert Böhme, CEO and Founder of PTScientists
Nokia Chief Technology Officer and Bell Labs President, Marcus Weldon, has 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.”
Vodafone Germany CEO, Dr. Hannes Ametsreiter, said, “This project involves a radically innovative approach to developing 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.”