IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud With Red Hat Powers NASA’s 2020 Space Apps Challenge

October 2, 2020

By Elissa Gootman

Coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders and technologists from around the world will gather (virtually) this weekend for NASA’s ninth annual International Space Apps Challenge: a global hackathon to develop solutions to pressing issues facing Earth and space.

As one of this year’s global collaborators, IBM will provide access to IBM Cloud services to all hackathon participants, free of charge, through the end of the hackathon on Oct. 4. IBM Cloud with Red Hat will provide critical capabilities for participants to develop apps and solutions in a secure and open public cloud environment, allowing them to rapidly develop ideas and concepts in seven challenge categories, or focus areas: observe, inform, sustain, create, confront, connect and invent.

Using IBM Cloud will give participants access to multiple tools to manage, analyze and visualize data in real time. They will also be able to build, deploy and manage machine learning models built on open source, using Watson Studio and Watson Machine Learning.

“We are excited to collaborate with NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge this year and look forward to learning about the innovative solutions that will be found during these two days,” said Naeem Altaf, IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Space Tech Industry. “More than ever before, IBM is committed to discovering solutions based in science and driving the advancements that shape our world. IBM Cloud with Red Hat allows for increased agility with our leading hybrid cloud platform, in an open environment for increased collaboration and faster innovation.”

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge is expected to virtually host more than 20,000 participants around the globe, in a “universal event” as well as numerous “local virtual” events. Altaf will be a keynote speaker at the virtual event in Sofia, Bulgaria. He will be talking about the two projects IBM recently open-sourced: Space Situational Awareness and Kubesat Autonomous Framework.  

During the 2019 Space Apps Challenge, over 29,000 people from 71 countries participated in 225 events. The first all-virtual Space Apps hackathon was the special edition Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge in May, welcoming more than 15,000 people from 150 countries. The 2020 challenge comes the week after IBM unveiled its annual “5 in 5” predictions, detailing five ways the company believes technology will fundamentally reshape business and society over the next five years. This year’s 5 in 5 predictions focus on accelerating the discovery of new materials to enable a more sustainable future. IBM researchers are working to speed up the discovery of new materials that will address significant worldwide problems.

NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge inspires collaboration, creativity and critical thinking; fosters interest in Earth and space science and exploration; and encourages the growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers and engineers. To learn more and to participate in Space Apps this weekend, visit: