Template:Infobox company

"The International Space Apps Challenge is an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space...NASA is leading this global collaboration along with a number of government collaborators and over 100 local organizing teams across the globe." [1]

Space Apps is annual NASA’s global hackathon, first held in April 2012,[2] and serves as innovation incubation program. NASA and its partners put out challenges relating to current work for which space enthusiasts around the world of all backgrounds can develop innovative solutions (which can be more than just apps!), particularly focusing on use of NASA data and promoting education. The project is run by NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and is a part of the Open Government Initiative. It also fulfills the United States’ commitments to the Open Government Partnership.

NASA Space Apps GoalsEdit

  • Exemplifies principles of transparency, participation and collaboration
  • Utilizes openly available data, supplied through NASA missions and technology
  • Utilizes the talent and skill of passionate volunteers from around the planet
  • Advances space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth

How the Event WorksEdit

Participants from all backgrounds are welcome.

NASA coordinates the global event, but all locations are independently organized. With the exception of Kennedy Space Center in 2013-2014 and Glenn Research Center in 2015, all locations were organized by entities outside of NASA. However, some locations have been organized by the State Department.

Locations start signing up in the fall prior to the event. Registration by participants and publication of the challenges occur in the early to mid-March time frame.

Common Agenda

  • Registration & Logistics Briefing/Welcome
  • Speed Networking Session
  • Form challenge teams & start work
  • Progress Briefings
  • Presentations to the Judges
  • Awards Ceremony

Despite the name, solutions to challenges could have many forms. Some examples are

  • Visualizations/simulations of space/scientific principals or data
  • Interactive Maps
  • Tools that utilize NASA data sets
  • Software tools to transmit data for specific tasks
  • Payload designs for launching
  • Open-source libraries/tools
  • Tools utilizing social media and/or mobile devices for scientific/public good
  • Apps that give information based on user’s location or connect the user with other users while illustrating a space/science principal
  • Games that inform about space/science
  • Designs for potential future missions (i.e. orbits, landing sites, robots)
  • Modeling solutions using NASA data sets
  • Patterns identified in NASA data sets
  • Ideas to make living in space better/easier
  • Ideas for connecting the public with what is going on in space/science
  • Anything the solvers can think of!

Each location nominates two teams for global judging and one additional team for global People's Choice. Teams are also selected from the virtual projects to go on to global judging. To be eligible for global judging, teams must create a short video explaining their project (length varies across the years).


Year Dates Countries Locations Participants Challenges Projects
2012[3] April 21–22 17 25 2,004 64 101
2013 [4][5] April 20–21 44 83 9,147 57 770
2014[6][7] April 12–13 46 95 8,196 40 671
2015[8][9] April 11–12 61 133 12,728 35 937
2016[10] April 22–24 71 176 n/a 25 n/a


Over 2,000 people in 25 locations on all seven continents, in space, and virtually participated.


World’s Largest Hackathon! 2013: 9,000+ people participants at locations in 44 countries in 83 cities and virtually from anywhere in the world 83 consecutive hours of hacking 57 challenges (25 from NASA)

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden visited the Kennedy Space Center site.[11]

Winners at Maven LaunchEdit

Mars Exploration Program offered the Space Apps Global Winners opportunity to attend MAVEN launch. Kennedy Space Center also provided winners of their challenges that opportunity. The launch occurred on November 18, 2013 on an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[12][13][14]


Main Stage in New York City

45 Challenges focus on 5 mission areas:

  • Asteroids
  • Earth Watch
  • Human Spaceflight
  • Robotics
  • Space Technology

Data & Education were cross-cutting for all mission areas. Additionally, 27 projects from 2013 could also be built upon.

Winners at Orion EFT-1 LaunchEdit

Global and Kennedy Space Center winners attended the Orion Exploration Flight Test 1 Launch. The launch occurred on December 5, 2014 on an on a Delta IV Heavy from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[15][16][17]


The Main Stage was in New York City. Some countries, due to religious holidays April 11–12, held the challenge April 4–5. Nigeria, due to the potential for turmoil following elections, will hold the challenge April 18–19. All other locations will hold the challenge during the weekend of April 11–12.

Challenge Areas: Earth, Outer Space, Humans and Robotics. Space Technology & Education were cross-cutting for all mission areas.


Main Stage in Pasadena, California. Women in Data bootcamps held on April 22 in Pasadena. Other cities held bootcamps on other dates leading up to hackathon weekend. Hackathon weekend held April 23–24.

25 Challenges focus on 6 themes:

  • International Space Station
  • Journey to Mars
  • Earth
  • Technology
  • Solar System and Beyond
  • Aeronautics

Women in Data Boot CampsEdit

April 10, 2015[18]

The event was in New York City and was live streamed over the Internet that day. Presenters talked about hackathons, problem solving, communication and storytelling, using NASA data sets, and more. There was a workshop element in the afternoon, for hardware and programming. Virtual participants sent in questions via social media at #AskBootcamp. Focus was on Women in Data.

NASA also updated its Data Portal just prior to the 2015 Space Apps Challenge.[19]

April 22, 2016

The Data Bootcamp model is being adopted by cities around the world[20]—over 40 cities such as Cairo, Kivograd, Guatemala, Sydney, Tirana hosted Women in Data Bootcamps this year. As the mainstage, the city of Pasadena hosted a Women in Data Bootcamp[21] on April 22 to provide women and girls a top-level introduction to coding, data science, technology platforms, and hackathon challenge development. Attendees heard from keynote speakers and panelists including Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code, Dr. Anita Sengupta of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Astronaut Doug Wheelock.

Space Apps Project Accelerator ToolkitEdit

In 2015, NASA released the Space Apps Project Accelerator Toolkit[22] to the Space Apps community. The toolkit offers a resource to local Space Apps organizers to build their own community-sourced incubator to accelerate the most promising projects into sustainable innovations. The Toolkit was designed to help innovation take root in communities around the planet, planted from the seeds of NASA’s open data.

Global WinnersEdit

The categories vary between the first year (2012) and following years

Year Most Disruptive Most Innovative Best Use of Data Most Inspiring Galactic Impact People's Choice
2012[23][24] Growing Fruits: Pineapple Project Strange Desk Vicar2png Planet Hopper Growers Nation Bit Harvester
Year Best Mission Concept Best Use of Hardware Best Use of Data Most Inspiring Galactic Impact People's Choice
2013[25][26] Popeye on Mars ISS Base Station Sol T-10 NASA Greener Cities ChicksBook
2014[27][28] Aurora Wearables: Fashion meets Function Android Base Station SkyWatch Yorbit SkySnapper Next Vision (Space Helmet)
2015[29] Arachnobeea Valkyrie NY Space Tag Robot Tracking and Sensing CROPP NatEv Explorer
2016[30] FractalNet Canaria Scintilla Kid on the Moon L.I.V.E. Glacier Project Mars Hopper

Social MediaEdit

As Space Apps is a global event, there is a very active social media element to the event. Participants can form teams virtually, collaborating even if they aren't sharing a physical space and never meet face to face. #SpaceApps is used on Twitter and many other platforms. Each challenge is also assigned its own hashtag Sharing of live streaming at the events has been organized some years. Hackpads for the challenges allow participants to ask questions of the experts and also coordinate virtual collaboration. Google Hangouts have also been coordinated with astronauts on the International Space Station and as a method of subject matter experts sharing expertise with participants.[31]

Yuri's NightEdit

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.

Global CollaboratorsEdit


Past (Government)Edit

Past (Outside of Government)Edit

Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • As a part of promotion of The Martian (film), the Ares 3: Farewell video was released on the Ares: live YouTube channel.[32] The following crew fact was presented at 1:22 in the video for Beth Johanssen (played by Kate Mara) : "Won NASA's largest hackathon when she was seventeen." As Space Apps currently is NASA's global hackathon and was the world's (not just NASA's) largest in 2013, this alludes to Beth having won Space Apps.


  1. "Space Apps Challenge - About Page 2015". NASA. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  2. "Story". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  3. "International Space Apps Challenge". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  4. "Space Apps Challenge 2013". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  5. "2013 Mission Report - Space Apps". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  6. "Space Apps Challenge 2014". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  7. "2014 Mission Report - Space Apps". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  8. "Space Apps Challenge 2015". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  9. Beck, Beth. "Space Apps 2015: It’s a Wrap, Almost!". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  10. "Space Apps". 
  11. "NASA Administrator Bolden and Kennedy Director Cabana pose for a group shot with the @spaceapps participants.". @NASAKennedy. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  12. "Space Apps KSC Challenges 2013". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  13. "Space Apps Winners at MAVEN Launch at Kennedy Space Center". Tumblr. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. Beck, Beth. "Space Apps Winners @ MAVEN Launch". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  15. "Space Apps Winners at KSC for Orion Launch 2014". Storify. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  16. "Space Apps Winners to Attend NASA Orion’s EFT-1 Launch A". Tumblr. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  17. Beck, Beth. "Space Apps Winners Make History". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  18. "Space Apps Data Boot Camp 2015". NASA. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  19. Beck, Beth. "Welcome to NASA’s Data Portal". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  20. "Data Bootcamp | openNASA". 
  21. "Space Apps". 
  22. "International Space Apps Challenge 2015 Mission Report". 
  23. "Top Solutions from the International Space Apps Challenge Announced". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  24. "Global Winners Announced". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  25. Llewellyn, Ali. "Global Award Winners for the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  26. "Space Apps 2013 Global Winners". YouTube. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  27. "Awards". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  28. "Space Apps 2014 Global Winners". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  29. "NASA Announces Winners of 2015 International Space Apps Challenge". NASA. May 15, 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  30. "From Subterranean Communications to Mars Hopping, NASA Global Challenge Yields Mobile Innovations". NASA. May 25, 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  31. "Space Apps KSC YouTube channel". NASA Kennedy Space Center. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  32. "Ares 3: Farewell". 20th Century FOX. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.