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2013 International Space Apps Challenge
July 8, 2013

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More than 9,000 participants in 83 cities around the world collaborated to create 770 solutions as part of the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge, and several of this year's challenges focused on finding solutions related to the International Space Station.

For instance, the Spot the Station challenge was aimed at extending the functionality of the Spot the Station website by building an app that allows users to share their sightings with others and create a visualization with the data. Another challenge, International Print Station, was to create a 3-D printing framework for use in space. The SciStarter Citizen Science was a challenge to create software to help humans understand and analyze microbial communities and compare them with microbes on the space station. Finally, the Space Station Benefits to Humanity challenge was to develop a tool to increase understanding of the incredible benefits the station is delivering back to Earth.

The Space Apps Challenge is a technology development event created to draw on the talents and innovations of bright-minded volunteers. These volunteers include developers, engineers, technologists, designers and anyone with a passion and desire to make an immediate impact on the world.

The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant, open-source solutions to address universal needs applicable to life on Earth and in space. The Space Apps Challenge is an unprecedented international collaboration between government agencies, organizations and academic institutions from around the world.

Selected global winners include the following:

Most Inspiring

T-10, London: This project aims to create an app that astronauts can use on the space station to alert them of suitable times to photograph specific areas of Earth. It will save crew time by sending alerts only when local weather data shows clear skies. Astronauts can select cities of interest, whether they wish to take photographs in daylight or darkness and mark out "do not disturb" times. It will make an alarm sound ten minutes before the station flies over the position of interest. This will allow the astronauts time to get their camera ready and take the photo.

Best Use of Hardware

ISS Base Station, Philadelphia: This project consists of two components. The hardware component is an Arduino-based mechanical arm that points to the location of the space station in the sky when it comes overhead. The team created a demo version of a possible mechanical arm made from Kinects, which uses a low power Arudino to receive the station coordinates from a web server. The software side of the project consists of a simple app which tracks the position of the station in real time over a map of the world and connects to an augmented-reality app which allows the user to track the station in the sky. Users then can tweet photos they take of the station.

Other finalists

NASA in our House, Allen Park, Mich.: This app provides an interactive website showing some of the incredible benefits that the International Space Station is delivering back to Earth. This is accomplished using several tools, including a clickable overview map showing the station and Earth.

Spot the Station AUT, Auckland, New Zealand: An Android application created by Auckland University of Technology students allows users to track the current location of the space station using their mobile phones and share photos with other users around the world via the Twitter and their server, which was developed for this purpose. Users can add comments and photos through social media to let others know they have seen the station. Also, directional indications of where to find the station are overlaid on a real-time view from the camera. Other features include a compass so the user knows which direction to face, the total time of the pass and the elevation of the current pass.

Augmented Reality International Space Station, Santa Cruz, Calif.: This app consists of an augmented reality Android application that will enable users to spot the station by using a smartphone camera. Features include an augmented reality view, orbit trajectory tracking, social network integration and push notifications when the space station is nearby.

Megan Sumner
Public Affairs Office

NASA’s Johnson Space Center

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Space Apps Challenge Participants in Nairobi, Kenya
Space Apps Challenge Participants in Nairobi, Kenya
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iHub
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Space Apps Challenge participants at Kennedy Space Center.
Space Apps Challenge participants at Kennedy Space Center.
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NASA/Charisse Nahser
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Kristine Rainey