NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge

Space Apps is a NASA incubator innovation program encouraging students and professionals to spend 24 hours brainstorming solutions to some of the most fascinating and challenging issues facing our planet.

Participants are not limited to technologists, programmers and scientists and in fact, the input and perspective provided by designers, entrepreneurs, artists, and others is often the key to success.   Over 18 thousand participants in over 75 countries and 200 cities will compete to solve some of the most important issues identified by NASA (https://2019.spaceappschallenge.org/challenges/).

Register with your team or build a team at the contest. Your unique insight could be the key to solving a global problem.

Winners of local contests will compete internationally and Global award winners are featured on the Space Apps website and receive an invitation to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the Space Apps Global Organizing Team.

Now in its 8th year, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge is an international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and others in cities around the world, where teams engage with NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Space Apps 2018 included over 18,000 participants at more than 200 events in 75 countries.

What is a Hackathon?

Traditionally, hackathons are technology development marathons that draw on the talents and initiative of bright-minded volunteers –such as software developers, engineers, technologists, designers, scientists, and anyone with a passion and desire to have an immediate impact on the world. Hackathons are open to anyone and are focused on developing real solutions to global challenges by the end of the event. For each year’s International Space Apps Challenge, NASA designs challenges, and we (the Global Organizing Team) work with local hosts around the world to implement events where teams work intensively to design solutions over the course of a 48-hour period. 


NASA develops the challenges for each year’s Space Apps event. Challenge statements will be posted on spaceappschallenge.org about one month before the Space Apps event.

  • Many Space Apps cities choose to host an informal Pre-Event Meet-Up, where participants are invited to get together to brainstorm about the challenges and start forming their teams (but not to start working on their solutions – that happens at the event!).
  • Local experts and scientists are often invited to speak to participants about the challenge themes and inspire them in their brainstorming. 
  • It’s not just about smartphone applications! During the International Space Apps Challenge, teams will utilise publicly available NASA data to design all kinds of innovative solutions. 

Solutions / Projects

During the event, participants will organize into project teams focused on solving one of the specific challenges issued by NASA. Any project team that includes at least one participant makes that project eligible for awards at that participant’s location.  

In order for a project to receive an award or be eligible for global judging, it must be submitted to the Space Apps Challenge website via a Project Page. The Project Page must include links to the original resources, such as a source code repository or hardware schematics.

Solutions will only be accepted for judging if they are licensed under an Open Source License as determined by the Open Source Initiative: http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical.

Local Awards

Local awards are often given for best solutions on a specific challenge, most creative solution, most social impact, etc. Local judges will review the completed projects and determine local winners. 

Global Awards

Two teams/solutions will be nominated for consideration in the global judging process. In order to be considered for global judging, every nominated team will be given the same amount of time (5-7 days) to create a 30-second video describing their project. The global judging process is managed by NASA. Finalists for global awards will be announced four to six weeks after the event, and NASA will announce the winners in January 2020.

For more details on the challenge:



Register to Participate!