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NASA Announces 2021 International Space Apps Challenge Global Award Winners

Ten teams from around the globe took home top honors in the world’s largest hackathon addressing real-world problems on Earth and in space.

The logo for the 10th anniversary NASA Space Apps Challenge

After reviews by more than 200 subject matter experts and three rounds of judging, NASA has announced the Global Award winners of the 2021 NASA International Space Apps Challenge!

For the first time since the program started in 2012, ten Global Award winners were announced, including those in four new award categories. The winning teams in each category and their event locations are:

    The winning teams were announced on a Twitter livestream by former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman on December 10, 2021. Each winning team is being recognized on the Space Apps website and on social media. The winners also received an invitation to a Winners Trip in the United States, which could potentially include viewing a spacecraft launch at a NASA facility.

    2021 marks the 10th annual event of NASA's Space Apps Challenge. In honor of this milestone, the program organized this year’s event around the theme “The Power of Ten” and commemorated the event’s 10 years of community, collaboration, and solving by collaborating with 9 international space agencies — the Australian Space Agency, Brazilian Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, National Space Activities Commission of Argentina, National Space Science Agency of Bahrain, Paraguayan Space Agency, and South African National Space Agency — to make Space Apps accessible to more communities worldwide. The theme was also reflected in the increase in Global Awards to 10 from the customary six.

    Dubbed the “largest annual global hackathon in the world,” the goal of the Space Apps Challenge is for teams to create open-source solutions to address challenges on Earth and in space around a specific theme over a collaborative weekend. This year, Space Apps received more than 28,000 registrations — the largest number ever for an all-virtual Space Apps event.

    Space Apps 2021 took place virtually from more than 320 locations around the globe from October 2 to 3. Teams from over 160 countries and territories developed solutions for one of 28 challenges posed by NASA, ranging from building an app for COVID-19 risk warnings, to finding a way to grow food on missions to Mars, to coming up with methods to detect and locate space and marine debris. This year’s Space Apps winners represent the top projects submitted out of 2,814 received this year. Along with data openly available through NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), participants were encouraged to integrate data from the 2021 Space Apps partner agencies as well.

    The goals of the 2021 NASA International Space Apps Challenge are to:

    • Inspire collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking
    • Foster interest in Earth and space science and exploration
    • Raise awareness of NASA and space agency partners’ data around the world
    • Encourage growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers, engineers, and artists.

    The Space Apps Challenge is an annual event led by the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. It is organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, SecondMuse, and NASA’s Open Innovation Initiative and Applied Sciences Program.

    If you’d like to participate in next year’s challenge, then mark your calendars! Space Apps 2022 will take place on October 1-2, 2022, so save the date! Registration will open in July 2022. At that time, participants will be able to register for one of several hundred local events hosted by Space Apps Local Leads around the world, or register to join the Universal Event, which is open to anyone, anywhere!

    For more information:

    To learn more about each of the winning projects, go to the NASA Space Apps Challenge website.

    To view Astronaut Cady Coleman announcing the 2021 Space Apps winners on Twitter, go to the NASA Space Apps Twitter feed (@SpaceApps).

    Page Last Updated: Dec 10, 2021 at 1:14 PM EST