This is as much a retrospective as it is a future lookout with regards to the International Space Apps Challenge 2012 in Stuttgart.
Let’s start with the lookout. Space Apps in Stuttgart was overwhelming and we, the organizers AerospaceResearch.net and shackspace, as well as the participants really hope that there will be a 2013 edition where we can resume working on started Space Apps and share our enthusiasm with even more people all around the world.
With open source at its heart this installment of Space Apps is predestined to serve as the foundation for a great series.
In the meantime we will support the apps able to run on our AerospaceResearch.net's distributed super computing platform "Constellation" and plan to present a first set of improved apps or maybe even measurement and calculation results in one year’s time. The teams who've worked on apps like "Brightest Night" and "Tour of the Solar System" deserves no less. Some even mentioned on the final ceremony that they plan to spend more time on the projects they've started now that the Space Apps Challenge is over. We will also contact other Space Apps teams and invite them to our platform in case they will need massive computation power to achieve their goals. So the seeds of collaboration and finding solutions to global challenges is planted and this is what we think to be the very essence of the Space Apps Challenge. We really hope Space Apps 2013 will happen and we will definitely keep a free slot in our event calendar. Perhaps even some other agencies will be influenced by NASA’s idea in codeathon-like events and start one of their own.
In retrospect, the Stuttgart event wasn’t just about coding Space Apps, it was more than that. We started in the purposed way and provided all the needed infrastructure with hack center, electronics lab, media lab, lounge and kitchen. The participants were able to start hacking right away. But we added certain unique features other locations didn't have which we think made this event quite memorable and special. Firstly, it started with the provided pizza by German Aerospace Society (DGLR), where all participants sat and ate together. We've had atmospheric electronic music in all rooms to offer a nice ambience and get you into a relaxed mindset perfect for coding. The mid-event live video session with our Australian friends in Melbourne was perfect to get an impression what other Space Apps participants did, and we also used the chance to chat with friends, that had been the local organizers, we have there. During the night hours colorful mood lights were employed to perfect the lounge feeling. And last but not least, our Chef de Cuisine surprised us with chicken korma, afterwards we've improvised some cocktails in the shackspace club kitchen and watched the movie “Hackers”. That all added to the ambience of our event and lead to great results for "Brightest Night" made possible in parts thanks to Logitech sponsoring us some C920 HD-Webcams, "Solar System Grand Tour", "NASA Planetary Data System Interface", "Preliminary Design for Open Data API" and even for a last minute addition which wasn't part of the competition: an "Autonomous Flight Drone" project.
The second and final day had been used to finish the started apps and present them as part of an impromptu couch discussion round, where the participants presented their results to everyone. We all learned a lot from what everybody did for Space Apps. This also gave us as the judges the basis to award prizes to the participants. Prizes were sponsored by several companies and agencies like German Aerospace Society (DLR), Sterne und Weltraum, Science-Shop.de, RadioactiveAtHome.org, Yuri’s Night and Github. In the end the teams working on "Brightest Night" and "Tour of the Solar System" made the first two places which made them eligible for the international judging round. Some attendees departed a little early and some stayed even longer at shackspace to discuss their work with other people in the club. Throughout the event we've had a fantastic atmosphere and participant feedback was great.
This leaves us having to thank everyone involved in making this event as great as it was and let you know that we will do that again. To be precise: we're already at it!