NASA Space Apps Challenge
NASA Space Apps Challenge. Credit: NASA.

The Canadian Space Agency Launches Its Own Space Apps Challenge

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is getting involved with NASA’s annual Space Apps Challenge with a set of challenges of its own for this weekends event in Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo.

NASA’s Space Apps is an international hackathon in its 6th year that occurs over 48 hours in cities around the world. Last year over 15,000 people participated in over 160 events globally.

The challenges aren’t just for programmers. According to NASA “teams need project managers, designers, artists, educators, writers – anyone who can help advance the cause.”

Many of the ideas from the hackathon’s over the years have led to entrepreneurs starting new companies. That includes past winner SkyWatch who now also organize the event in Waterloo.

The CSA challenges include simulated data from the upcoming RADARSAT Constellation Mission which is being released as part of the governments commitment to open data.

Along with the new challenges the CSA will sending astronaut Jeremy Hansen to participate in the Toronto Space Apps Challenge on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and at the Waterloo Space Apps Challenge on Saturday at 9:00 a.m.

The CSA Challenges

Alouette satellite
Alouette satellite. Credit: CSA

Challenge 1: Be part of Canada’s legacy in space!

Images from Canada’s very first satellite, Alouette-I, have been digitized! This data has rich historical value and is of interest to scientists today. The images can help us study how activity in the ionosphere can interfere with satellite signals for navigation, positioning and communications.

Your challenge? Go back in time and create a tool that will decipher the numeric and the Binary Digital Coding (BDC) used in 1963. Your tool will help manage the thousands of ionosphere images recently scanned by the CSA.

Full description and datasets

RCM Simulated Data Derived from RADARSAT-2 Data and Product
RCM Simulated Data Derived from RADARSAT-2 Data and Products. Credit: MDA.

Challenge 2: Get ready for next generation Earth observation data!

In preparation for the launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM), the Canadian Space Agency is releasing simulated RCM data. You could be among the first to access the simulated data products and see how the RCM data format is different from previous RADARSAT missions. Because the data format is different, the freeware available for RADARSAT-2 cannot read it.

Your challenge? Design the first program to read RCM data products.

Full description and datasets

This is a Mosaic of Canada which is made from 121 images captured by Canadian satellite RADARSAT-2
This is a Mosaic of Canada which is made from 121 images captured by Canadian satellite RADARSAT-2. Credit: MDA.

Challenge 3: Design your own challenge!

Browse through the available Canadian space datasets and be inspired!

Access the 121 RADARSAT-2 images used to create this Mosaic of Canada or use the long-term atmospheric and climate data collected by SCISAT, OSIRIS, or MOPITT (archived on external websites).

Follow your instincts to create an original application or solution of your choosing!

Full description and datasets

SpaceQ is a sponsor of the Waterloo Space Apps Challenge.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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