Astronauts on moon will be able to use WhatsApp and Netflix thanks to British firm

Astronauts on future missions to the moon may be able to WhatsApp friends and watch Netflix thanks to the efforts of a British company.

By 2028 internet satellites will hopefully be orbiting the moon, made by Inmarsat – one of several UK firms tasked by the European Space Agency with creating telecommunications and a GPS navigation system for the lunar surface.

Nick Shave, vice-president of strategic programmes at Inmarsat, said: “You could envisage getting Netflix and you’ll certainly be getting WhatsApp on the moon.”

A host of missions are planned for the next decade that would see humans return for the first time since 1972. Commercial companies are also planning space missions in the future.

David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration at the ESA, described upcoming moon trips as the “systematic exploration of our ‘eighth continent’”.

He added: “The moon is a repository of 4.5 billion years of solar system history, but we’ve hardly begun to unlock its secrets.”

Inmarsat is working on a project being led by Italian space systems company Telespazio, with MDA Space and Robotics, of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

A parallel project is being led by Surrey Satellite Technology, alongside Airbus in Portsmouth, the Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall and the Nottingham-based sat-nav firm GMV-NSL.