One of the Romanian finalist teams at Space Apps Challenge hackathon gets the chance to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

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Each two teams from Bucharest, Cluj Napoca și Craiova qualified for the international phase of the international competition SpaceAppsChallenge powered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The event, to which participated approximately 300 people from Romania, took place between October 19-20, 2019, in parallel with other approximately 200 cities around the world.

The winning teams are:

Bucharest

  • OLSpace team with their project entitled “Set your sights high”. OLSpace mobile application comes as a solution for astronomy enthusiasts to help them localize satellites in the area in real time, in Augmented Reality. It also provides to the user the essential data about satellite geo-location and type.
  • LMA_Erhan team with their proposal “Surface-to-air (quality) mission”. The app is aimed to help people get information about the air they breathe and to raise awareness of air pollution.

Over 100 people, aged between 12 and 40, participated in Bucharest, forming 16 teams. The popularity prize was awarded to the Water Power team, consisting of two 12 years old children who presented a boat prototype, which uses the sea water as fuel instead of the polluting one.

The local jury was formed of Thales, IBM, Science &Technology magazine, Romanian Space Agency, Techcelerator, HPS members. In Bucharest, the participants received technical support from IBM and Thales specialists, while for pitching the projects they received advice from Sorin Badea, journalist at Radio Guerrilla.

They also gained new perspectives from Dana Rusu, trainer at Learning Network, Cristian Român, senior editor at Stiinta si Tehnica magazine, and from Nansi Lungu, Consumers’ Behaviour Coordinator at Bitdefender. Not least, 11 year old Andrei Tudor, one of the youngest robot builders, spoke about the passion that drives us to discover science.

Cluj Napoca

  • Solaris team with their project “Spot the fire V2.0”. IgnisGlobal is an open-source project, created by a team of high school students, that enables people in wildfire zones to get to safety.
  • Radio Pirates with “Internet on the ocean”, a solution that uses radio signals to send messages to a final user over the Internet and receive responses in the same way. The channel on which the data is transmitted is one created by the radios on each boat.

In Cluj-Napoca, there were 8 teams. The local jury consisted of representatives from Digital Transformers and IBM. The teams benefited from mentorship from Astronomy Hub Cluj and IBM specialists.

In Bucharest, each of the winning teams received prizes from the main partner: Thales, but also from PORC and Hollywood Multiplex, and all participants got books from Nemira publishing house. The official partners of the Space Apps Challenge powered by NASA, in Romania, were: Thales, IBMTechcelerator, Armada collection by Nemira, Learning Network, Cooperativa FruFru, FoodPanda, ALL promotion and M Flower Lab.

Romanian hackathon NASA Space Apps Challenge grows in a much accelerated rhythm. Over this weekend, we felt the energy of the teams that used their enthusiasm, technical knowledge and creativity to shape original projects starting from the themes proposed by NASA. I congratulate all the teams and we cross our fingers for the national finalists to represent Romania with the same great success at the global phase”, said Cristian Dascălu, founder of Digital Transformers, the local organizer of the competition, together with DiFine PR.

The solutions of the winning teams from Romania will enter in the assessment process at international level, coordinated by NASA. Preselected teams will have up to one week to create a 30 seconds video, through which they will present their projects. The global finalists will be announced in December 2019 and NASA will announce the big winners in January 2020. They will be invited to the NASAs Kennedy Space Center.

The generic themes of this year’s edition were: Oceans of the Earth, Our Moon, Planets, near and far, To the stars, Living in our world.

Space Apps Challenge is an innovative NASA incubation program, organized annually, starting 2012 in hubs from all over the world. At the 2018 edition, more than 18,000 participants from 75 countries signed up, whereas Romania had 300 participants. In the 2018 edition, 8 finalist teams were elected from Romania, and one of the teams from Cluj Napoca became one of the international finalists at the „Galactic Impact” category.