NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Selects Philadelphia as the Global MainStage

NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Selects Philadelphia as the Global MainStage

The two-day civic hackathon will gather citizens from around the world to work together to solve current challenges relevant to both space exploration and science.

Philadelphia, PA, April 10, 2013 – Presented by NASA, the International Space Apps Challenge is a two-day hackathon where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, software developers, and students will compete and collaborate across the world, utilizing publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges in software development, citizen science, sensors and hardware, and data visualization. 

This year, Philadelphia has been nominated to be the event Global MainStage where the local event is organized by Azavea, an award-winning geospatial data analysis software company.   The hackathon will be held at The ExCITE Center at Drexel University (3401 Market Street, Phila, PA 19104) on April 20-21, 2013 from 9:00am – 8:00pm on Saturday and 9:00am – 5:00pm on Sunday; registration is open at:  . The opening reception will be held at First Round Capital (4040 Locust Street, Phila, PA 19104) on Friday, April 19 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm; registrations can be made at:

Among the 15challenges to be highlighted at the Philadelphia event, participants will have the opportunity to design a CubeSat for an upcoming Mars mission; create a visualization that increases understanding of the problems of our current air traffic control system; and create an app that integrates wind, solar, and geothermal energy data.  A full list of challenges is available at: .  Select judges including Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute, NASA Deputy CIO Deborah Diaz, and City of Philadelphia Chief Data Officer Mark Headd will award prizes to winning solutions, including credits donated by Amazon Web Services, K’NEX building kits, and spaceflight training courses donated by the NASTAR Center of Southampton, PA.  Other space experts, including Nick Skytland, Program Manager of NASA’s Open Innovation Program, and Brienna Henwood, Director of Space Training & Research at the NASTAR Center in Southampton, PA will also be at the event to help participants and answer questions about space.

“I’m delighted to be a judge for Philadelphia’s Space Apps Challenge,” said Derrick Pitts.  “I am especially excited that this event will show people real challenges for NASA and outer space work, and give all of us a chance to engage with them to come up with solutions in just a weekend.”

The event is being held concurrently with the annual Philadelphia Science Festival and Philly Tech Week.  A truly collaborative problem-solving weekend, the Space Apps Challenge – along with hundreds of science-focused and tech events held in Philadelphia that week – aims to provide a hands-on approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education with enthusiasm built in. Younger students will be able to use K’NEX building kits at the event.

The Philadelphia Space Apps Challenge is sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Azavea, Chariot Solutions, GitHub, Global Advantage Consulting, Jar.vus, the NASTAR Center, K’NEX, and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. The venue sponsors are:  ExCITE Center at Drexel University and First Round Capital.

About Azavea – Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile software as well as geospatial analysis services.  Azavea is a certified B Corporation that applies geographic data and technology to promote the emergence of vibrant and sustainable communities while advancing the state-of-the-art through research.  Each of Azavea’s projects, products and pro bono engagements showcases this commitment.  Find out more at

If you would like more information about Azavea or the Philadelphia International Space Apps Challenge event, please contact Andrew Thompson at (215) 701 – 7689 or e-mail

About NASA – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. Find more at:

If you would like more information about the global International Space Apps Challenge event, please contact Sarah Rigdon at (202) 358 – 1144 or e-mail