|Website||Space Apps Challenge|
The NASA International Space Apps Challenge is an event where NASA Subject Matter Experts author challenges relating to real-world problems on Earth and Space and/or current NASA initiatives. Participants from around the world can form teams that work to develop solutions through the use of NASA and its Space Agency Partners’ open data over the two-day hackathon event.
The program, formerly run by NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer, is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and is a part of the Open Government Initiative founded under President Barack Obama. It also fulfills the United States’ commitments to the Open Government Partnership. The United States released its National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership in September 2011, including a commitment to hold the International Space Apps Challenge to “promote innovation through international collaboration”. Today, Space Apps is managed by the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
NASA Space Apps fosters interest in Earth and space science, technology, and exploration and encourages the growth and diversity of the next generation of problem solvers, innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs. NASA Space Apps has engaged 220,000+ registrants from 185+ countries/territories.
In the early years, Space Apps was primarily focused on space science and technology. However, in 2017, Space Apps moved to the NASA Earth Science Division and expanded to include both Earth and space science and technology. Today, Space Apps features arts and humanities challenges alongside the technology challenges, building a more inclusive program with broader appeal, the highest participation numbers ever, and a marked increase in projects submitted with technology and art themes.
NASA collaborates with international space agency partners on the Space Apps Challenge to encourage more extensive global collaboration and provides a broader platform for participants to contribute to the fields of Earth and space science and technology through Space Apps.
After the Space Apps Challenge concludes, each Local Event nominates teams with the top projects for Global Judging. The number of nominees depends on the number of projects submitted at each event. Local Events also may select an additional team for the Local People's Choice Award. Teams are also selected from the Universal Event to proceed to Global Judging.
Each year, NASA attempts to invite Global Winners and Local Leads from winning locations to a NASA spacecraft launch. Global Winners are also featured on the Space Apps website and social media.
In 2013, Mars Exploration Program offered the Space Apps 2012 Global Winners the opportunity to attend the launch of MAVEN, a Mars Orbiter. Kennedy Space Center also provided winners of their challenges that opportunity. The launch occurred on November 18, 2013 on an Atlas V 401 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Space Apps 2013 Global and Kennedy Space Center winners attended the Orion Exploration Flight Test 1 launch. The launch scrubbed once on December 4 before occurring on December 5, 2014 on a Delta IV Heavy from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch s.
Space Apps 2014 Global and the overall Kennedy Space Center winners attended the viewing opportunity for the Cygnus CRS OA-4 launch, taking cargo and experiments to the International Space Station. The launch scrubbed twice on December 3 and 4; it occurred on December 6, 2015 on an Atlas V 401 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Space Apps 2015 Global and the overall Kennedy Space Center winners were invited to attend the launch of OSIRIS-Rex, visiting the asteroid Bennu. The launch occurred on September 8, 2016 on an Atlas V 411 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Space Apps 2016 Global Winners were invited to attend the launch of TDRS-M, a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite operated by the Space Communications and Navigation Program (SCaN). The mission experienced delays in weeks leading up to launch on August 18, 2017 on an Atlas V 401 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
In 2017, Global winners were invited to attend the launch of TDRS-M, a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite operated by the Space Communications and Navigation Program (SCaN). The mission experienced delays in weeks leading up to launch on August 18, 2017 on an Atlas V 401 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Space Apps 2018 Global Winners were invited to Kennedy Space Flight Center to attend the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket as part of SpaceX CRS-18, a Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station.
In 2019, 2020, and 2021, invitations to NASA launches were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, Global Winners were invited to a virtual celebration with NASA representatives. In 2023, Global Winners were invited to NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC for an in-person celebration.
|Year||Dates||Countries/ Territories*||Local Events||Registered
|2012 ||April 21–22||17||25||2,004||64||101|
|2013  ||April 20–21||44||83||9,147||57||770|
|2014  ||April 12–13||46||95||8,196||40||671|
|2015  ||April 2015||62||133||13,700||35||949|
|2016  ||April 22–24||61||161||15,409||25||1,300|
|2017 ||April 29–30||69||187||25,140||24||2,017|
|2018 ||October 19–21||75||200||17,924||19||1,395|
|2019 ||October 18–20||71||225||29,253||25||2,067|
|Special Covid-19 edition ||May 30–31||148||Virtual||15,304||12||1,422|
|2020 ||October 2–4||146||251||26,155||23||2,303|
*In 2012-2018, participating countries/territories represent the number of countries/territories where a Local Event was hosted. Years 2020 and forward represent the number of countries/territories registered participants for the hackathon reside.
The event was part of the United States’ commitment to the Open Government Partnership. The Open Government Partnership was a multilateral initiative between 55 nations around the world committed to promoting transparency, participation, and collaboration between governments and citizens. The United States released its National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership in September 2011, including a commitment to hold the International Space Apps Challenge to “promote innovation through international collaboration.”. Space exploration was the ideal catalyst to foster this culture of innovation, and NASA, in collaboration with nine9 government agencies and 99 other organizations, hosted the inaugural Challenge event in 25 cities and 17 countries - on all seven continents and online.
The first interplanetary weather app was developed using actual Mars
science data and visual imagery, such as highlighting temperature and dust storms.
Main Stage Location(s): Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Theme or Challenge Topics:
During the event, NASA opened the Space Apps Challenge to the broader public by including a YouTube broadcast of a Google Hangout with NASA Senior Executives. The public asked questions through social media channels, which were addressed by NASA Chief Technology Officer for IT, Deborah Diaz; NASA Chief Scientist, Ellen Stofan; NASA Asteroid Grand Challenge Program Executive, Jason Kessler; and Astronauts Doug Wheelock of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, with moderation by Open innovation Program Manager, Beth Beck. In 2014–2015, Space Apps planned the weekend to occur over Yuri's Night, April 12, when people around the world have parties and events to celebrate achievements in human spaceflight.
Main Stage Location(s): New York City
In 2015, the inaugural Space Apps Data Bootcamp was introduced the day before the kickoff of the 2015 Space Apps mainstage event in New York City. Speakers included NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman, who spoke about her work with space robotics; IBM General Manager and author Sandy Carter, who shared career hacks for women entering technology fields; and 13-year-old Olivia Ross from Black Girls Code, who discussed her first (winning) hackathon experience. The Space Apps Data Bootcamp was developed to empower and encourage women to participate in the hackathon and honor women who are making a difference in the field of data science.
Main Stage Location(s): Microsoft HQ, Times Square, New York City, New York
For the second year, the Space Apps Challenge included a pre-hackathon Women in Data Bootcamp to build confidence and give women, girls, and those new to hackathons a head start leading into the weekend. The Data Bootcamp was held in Pasadena, California, where the 2016 mainstage event was hosted. It featured guest speakers such as Kimberly Bryant, the Founder of Black Girls Code, Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society, Anita Sengupta of NASA and creative scientist Dr. Kate Stone who was also a founding member of the NASA Datanauts initiative. In 2016, there were more than 50 Data Bootcamps held in conjunction with NASA Space Apps events, creating and opening up even more space for a diverse community of global participants.
Main Stage Location(s): Pasadena, California
Theme or Challenge Topics:
In 2017 the Space Apps Challenge was hosted by a Local Lead in Melbourne Australia and several other Australian cities also competed. Speakers included Andrew Aldrin, son of American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who works in the launch and education areas of the space industry. Aldrin fascinated the audience by discussing the ‘new’ space industry that seeks more entrepreneurial approaches to innovation. He wanted to see more investment in propulsion from the Moon and in space manufacturing, both of which could address the ongoing problem of orbiting space junk.
Main Stage Location(s): Palo Alto, California lead by the Local Lead Irena Chaushevska and New York City, New York lead by the Local Lead Joseph Spens.
Theme or Challenge Topics:
In 2018, Space Apps Challenge Local Leads were 33% women.
Main Stage Location(s): Huntsville, Alabama
Theme or Challenge Topics:
In 2018, Space Apps Challenge Local Leads were 37.5% women.
Main Stage Location(s): Huntsville, Alabama
Theme or Challenge Topics:
A special Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge was held on May 30–31, 2020. More than 15,000 participants, from over 150 countries/territories participated.
The challenges focused on the following themes:
The 2020 Space Apps Challenge was an entirely virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Space Agency Partners: Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and The National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
The 2021 International Space Apps Challenge marked the tenth annual event for the program with the theme, "The Power of Ten." To celebrate the occasion, organizers brought together ten space agency partners to support the event and added four new award categories for a total of ten award categories for 2021: Best Storytelling, Global Connection, Art & Technology, Local Impact.
The 2021 Space Apps Challenge was an entirely virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Space Agency partners:
Australian Space Agency, Brazilian Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, ESA (European Space Agency), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, National Space Activities Commission of Argentina, National Space Science Agency of Bahrain, Paraguayan Space Agency, and the South African National Space Agency.
The 2022 Space Apps Challenge hackathon theme was “Make Space” to emphasize NASA’s commitment to inclusivity.
The hackathon focused on Earth and space science, technology, and exploration.
In 2022, Space Apps introduced the Global Live event which streamed live from Space Apps Instagram. During the event, Space Apps GO Team members highlighted Local Events in Madrid, Spain; Pretoria, South Africa; and New York City in real-time.
The 2022 Space Apps Challenge Winners Announcement was announced live from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Space Agency Partners: Australian Space Agency, Brazilian Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, ESA (European Space Agency), Indian Space Research Organization, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Mexican Space Agency, National Space Activities Commission of Argentina, National Space Science Agency of Bahrain, Paraguayan Space Agency, and the South African National Space Agency.
Experts from NASA, partner space agencies, and industry evaluate projects submissions nominated for Global Awards by Local Leads to select winners. Award categories have varied over the years.
|Year||Most Disruptive||Most Innovative||Best Use of Data||Most Inspiring||Galactic Impact||People's Choice|
|2012  ||Growing Fruits: Pineapple Project||Strange Desk||Vicar2png||Planet Hopper Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||Growers Nation||Bit Harvester|
|Year||Best Mission Concept||Best Use of Hardware||Best Use of Data||Most Inspiring||Galactic Impact||People's Choice|
|2013  ||Popeye on Mars Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||ISS Base Station Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||Sol Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||T-10 Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||NASA Greener Cities Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine||ChicksBook Archived 2016-04-15 at the Wayback Machine|
|2014  ||Aurora Wearables: Fashion meets Function||Android Base Station||SkyWatch||Yorbit||SkySnapper||Next Vision (Space Helmet)|
|2015 ||Arachnobeea||Valkyrie||NY Space Tag||Robot Tracking and Sensing||CROPP||NatEv Explorer|
|2016 ||FractalNet Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine||Canaria Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine||Scintilla Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine||Kid on the Moon Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine||L.I.V.E. Glacier Project Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine||Mars Hopper|
|2017 ||Space Bar||HALA||Lemon Py||Grovr||Radaway||NestFold|
|Year||Best Mission Concept||Best Use of Hardware||Best Use of Data||Most Inspirational||Galactic Impact||Best Use of Science|
|2018 ||that-vr-team||DeltaProtocol||Olik||iNON||Salinity||Pillars of Creation|
|2019 ||c.a.w.s.t.o.n.||Cafeína||AEDES project||StarStruck||Massa||The Great Bloom Theory|
|Year||Best Mission Concept||Best Use of Technology||Best Use of Data||Most Inspirational||Galactic Impact||Best Use of Science|
|Special COVID-19 edition ||Shelter in Space||Elavo||G.I.D.E.O.N.||The Masked Scales||PANAL||Michiganders Researching Coronavirus|
|2020 ||Loud and Clear||FireWay||Monsoon Overflow||
A.I. ltruistics: A.I. Heroes
& Team Twilight
|Year||Best Mission Concept||Best Use of Technology||Best Use of Data||Most Inspirational||Galactic Impact||Local Impact||Global Connection||Best Storytelling||Art and Technology||Best Use of Science|
|Special COVID-19 edition||Shelter in Space||Elavo||G.I.D.E.O.N.||The Masked Scales||PANAL||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Michiganders Researching Coronavirus|
|2020||Loud and Clear||FireWay||Monsoon Overflow||A.I. ltruistics: A.I. Heroes||Project L.L.O.C.U.S.T||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||ASPIRE|
|2021||Mohakash||Change Maker||Cambridge Asteroids||Bioshi||4 Seeds||Landslide Detection Squad||Eagle AI||Space Travelers||Jimmy in the Box||Ani's Cuff|
|2022||Mars 3D Home||tAMing particles||Starflock||Team Diamonds||Selene||Brute Force||Standard NCTUCS Student||MIMBI||Earth, Wind, and Flare||What's New?|
Space Apps on social media reaches audiences across the globe with the hashtag, #SpaceApps. The social following has grown to thousands on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and in 2022 social mentions had a reach of 755 million. Space Apps socials exclusively feature live events such as with former NASA astronaut, Cady Coleman, Dr. Keith Gaddis, NASA Leadership, and more.