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What Is the Background of Space Apps NYC's Key Decision Makers?

Space Apps NYC takes its overall direction from NASA’s Space Apps incubator program who sets the tone of the hackathon each year. They determine the global main stage, the hackathon theme and challenges, and where to deploy NASA resources and speakers.

The rest is up to the local organizers (that’s us). We at Space Apps NYC are all volunteers who have participated in a previous Space Apps Challenge event. Most of us are technical, but just like our community, we have a diverse background. Few of us have production and fund raising experience, the only qualification is a passion for space innovation in NYC.

What Are Space Apps NYC’s Core Objectives and What Is Its Approach to Reach Those Objectives?

Our core objectives are to:

Cultivate innovation in the NASA and the greater space industry through open sourced communities

Promote STEM among women and underrepresented demographics in the field

We have a community of over 1800 hackers who are made up of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, software developers, students, and anyone else interested in space exploration. Everyone comes together for one weekend and teams up to solve high reaching challenges posed by NASA. They use open sourced data sets and technologies to build innovative products which are then presented at the end of the weekend. At Space Apps NYC we do our best to promote these projects outside of the event in order to facilitate extending and funding these projects within other incubator programs.

We also run a Women in Data bootcamp series leading up to the hackathon. It’s our goal to bring in women in leadership and technical positions to speak to our community, and to run technical workshops with a female attendance of over 50%, most of whom are still in school.

What Is the Core Service That Space Apps NYC Delivers and What Makes This a Unique Proposition to Its Audience?

Our core distinction is NASA. There are many hackathons around the city, country, and world, but this hackathon is unique in that NASA posts the challenges, and those projects which do well are adopted and developed further by NASA and its affiliate organizations. This is an opportunity to basically work with NASA in developing next gen space exploration technology. We offer open NASA data sets, sometimes opened for this event, and hackers have the ability to work with and ask questions from NASA reps in developing their ideas.

Space Apps NYC also runs a Commercial Space, Science, and Frontier Technologies conference the same weekend as the hackathon, which is free for all our registered hackers. The conference attracts leaders in the commercial space industry, including astronauts, who give talks related to their domain expertise. Through these talks our hackers are given context around the challenges posed to them by Space Apps, and are also encouraged to mingle with our speakers and VIP guests throughout the conference.

What Are Space Apps NYC’s Growth Objectives over the next 5 Years?

Each year our local community is growing beyond most other locations globally. This year is our first expansion, we merged with Space Apps Brooklyn, and we plan on opening more locations in other boroughs and around the city. Only ~10% of our community get to participate at an NYC location each year due to venue constraints, and we plan on solving that problem.

Space Apps NYC runs the Commercial Space, Science, and Frontier Technologies conference, going on its 3rd year. It is the largest space conference in NYC and the largest amateur space conference in the country. In 2015 we were designated the Space Apps global main stage location for the second time in a row, and the conference’s original purpose was to provide a platform for the numerous speakers that came with that title. The conference has taken off and we are using it to promote NYC’s tech, VC, maker, scientific, and academic communities and establish NYC as a new international space hub.

What Competitive Changes Does Space Apps NYC Envisage Within the Space Industry over the next 5 Years and What Impact Will This Have on Space Apps NYC?

More and more engineering teams at NASA, JPL, and other affiliate organizations are open sourcing their software. This is a huge opportunity to engage with the wider community to spark innovation and contribute back to these initiatives. NASA is at heart an innovation organization. They conceptualize, design, and develop the technologies of tomorrow with the intention of commercial space industries adopting and developing these technologies further. So many new companies will be born out of this growing commercialization of space.