Vodafone to take one small step for 4G
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Vodafone will bring 4G coverage to the Moon next year, 50 years after humans first walked on its surface.

PTScientists, a Berlin-based company, is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing: Mission to the Moon. This is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The payload will include a 4G space-grade Ultra Compact Network developed by Nokia Bell Labs, which will weigh less than a kilogram. Vodafone’s expertise will be used to connect two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA).

The 4G network will enable the Audi lunar quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data and HD video while they 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.

Testing performed by Vodafone indicates that the base station should be able to broadcast 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band and send back the first ever live HD video feed of the Moon’s surface, which will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin.

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.”

Robert Böhme, CEO and Founder of PTScientists, said: “This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system. 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!”


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