International Space Apps Challenge 2014

mLab Southern Africa and Vodacom are proud to be the hosts of the International Space Apps Challenge again this year at mLab Pretoria and in partnership with The Barn at mLab Cape Town available for the Hackathon.

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.

This year we expect to have about 40 challenges that support NASA’s mission directorates in five themes: Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight, Robotics and Asteroids. NASA is leading this global collaboration along with a number of government collaborators and 100+ local organizations.


The exploration of space is, by necessity, a unified international effort – and diversity of experience and perspective inevitably produces a better product.

We are very intentional to make the Space Apps Challenge valuable to and accessible to the international community, and the experience continues to teach us numerous lessons about how to make it more truly international.


The Challenge exemplifies the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration by utilizing openly available data, supplied through NASA missions and technology, and the talent and skill of passionate volunteers from around the planet to advance space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth.


The idea of a Challenge is so compelling because it acknowledges the fact that the world is facing serious challenges – and that we all have to work together to approach them. While there are prizes offered for great solutions, the main challenge we focus on is enabling 48 hours of highly engaged collaboration- and discovering what we can create when that happens.

Check out some of the fun we had in 2013 mLab Space Apps Challenge 2013 and also watch the video

For more information on the global event please visit . Challenges will be announced shortly and registration for participation is now open (Pretoria | Cape Town).


Judging will occur at each location under the direction of the local hosts, who can determine judging categories and processes. Each local event can nominate up to two projects to advance to global judging in one of the five categories: Best Use of Data, Best Use of Hardware, Best Mission Concept, Galactic Impact, and Most Inspiring. Only one project may be nominated in a category. In addition, each local event may select one People’s Choice nomination to forward to the Space Apps team. People’s Choice can be selected in a process determined by the local hosts, such as by popular vote of the local participants at the event or using local judging panels. The local nominations that move forward for global judging will be required to provide a 30-second video within one week of the event to be used in the global judging process.


Local judges will select 2 projects to proceed to the Global Judging round. R5000 per winning team will be awarded on successful submission for the global round and publishing of the project (The project must become publicly available e.g. Apps must be available on a public app store.)


In the global judging round, a panel of NASA judges will select winners from each of the five finalist categories. The judges will review the finalists based on a short project description, a 30-second video, and project page links. Any code developed during the event weekend must be open source. To be eligible for global judging your project page must include a link to the code in a public repository.

In the global judging round, winners will be selected based on these criteria: impact, creativity, product, sustainability, and presentation. Global winners will be eligible to attend the September 2014 Space X Dragon launch to send supplies to the International Space Station. Winners and one guest will be required to pay their own expenses. NASA will supply transportation to and from the launch site, as well as opportunities to tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.


The top 25 People’s Choice candidates will be announced on the Space Apps website. The public can vote for their favorites via social media. NASA’s Space Apps team will collect social media analytics to determine the winning team.

NASA’s Space Apps team will make every effort to notify global winners within one month following the April event.