After the success of last year’s international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and others in Folsom, it’s exciting to see that the NASA International Space Apps Challenge is returning on October 7-8, 2023!

NASA Space Apps Challenge, to be held at Granite City Coworking this year, brings participants worldwide together at hundreds of in-person and virtual local events to solve challenges submitted by NASA experts.


The free event, first held in 2012, was inspired by another hackathon, Random Hacks of Kindness. It’s since evolved into an annual effort to innovate solutions for challenges faced on Earth and in space. 

The Folsom event is for the entire Sacramento region and is open to people of all ages and skill sets, ideally with a love for problem-solving. 


First-time hackathoners are especially welcome – this year’s theme, “Explore Open Science Together,” emphasizes the importance of collaboration. Come solo and join a team, or bring your own team – the more, the merrier.

So, how does it work? Space Apps gives problem-solvers access to NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s free and open data, allowing them to use these resources to solve specific challenges. This year’s 31 challengesrange from creating synthetic aperture radar art to mapping a biodiversity hotspot in South Africa.


Hackathon submissions will be judged by local experts and leaders, with regional winners advancing for NASA consideration. Those finalists will be judged by space agency experts, with winners selected for one of 10 global awards.


Space Apps is a terrific example of the creative problem-solving energy that fosters new ideas and businesses. It’s good for Folsom and Greater Sacramento in many ways, including teaching the importance of collaboration, team building for a common goal, and the idea that problem-solving, an art form unto itself, requires creativity, flexibility, and persistence.

As an engineer, I hope that Space Apps will encourage the next generation of engineers, scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, technologists, and problem solvers.


I look forward to seeing what this year’s participants bring to Space Apps – and our community. Interested in joining the event? Registration is free and can be found here.

After all, as Space Apps reminds us, ‘There’s always space for one more.’

Joe Gagliardi is the CEO of Choose Folsom and the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. Folsom Times is a proud Chairman’s Circle Partner with the Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Gagliardi
Author: Joe Gagliardi