NASA-led Space Apps Challenge is launching the Space Apps weekend hackathon in Kigali for the first time since its inception in 2012. For two days, coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists among others in Rwanda will engage with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s free and open data to address real-world problems. Space Apps Challenge has become the world’s largest global hackathon, engaging thousands of people from around the world to use NASA’s open data to build innovative solutions to challenges faced on Earth and in space. While the international challenge is a prestigious annual event held simultaneously in more than 200 cities around the world, the Kigali launch will be its debut in East Africa. The hackathon will focus on the importance of embracing space technology for economic development in Rwanda and charting towards having a strong space technology ecosystem. Organizers are working together with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the newly established Rwanda Space Agency which will provide mentors and internships to some of the winners. Participants will get together between October 2nd and 4th to build solutions for one of seven challenges presented by NASA in just 48 hours. In light of the Covid-19 crisis, all Space Apps hackathons will go fully-virtual. The hackathon seeks to motivate participants to create new ways and ideas through which space data can be presented usefully through apps, games or other innovative technology solutions. It also aims at encouraging members of the society especially the youth to tap into the space sector which is undoubtedly a near future endeavour. According to the hackathon organizer and Director of Kigali Start-up Grind, Abhinav Gautam, similar challenges have been launched in other African countries including Nigeria, Zambia, and Ethiopia. “They are proving to be fundamental in strengthening the space technology ecosystem and its development towards raising awareness on its importance. This launch will be purely based on Rwanda and for the Rwandan space technology enthusiast,” Gautam said. Among other topics, the Kigali hackathon will cover the space technology landscape in Rwanda, available opportunities and ways to instil space enthusiasm among citizens and the government. NASA Space Apps Challenge encourages collaboration from all disciplines in an attempt to ensure robust and sustainable solutions to different economic issues. This year’s hackathon is themed around “Take Action”, a reminder that people can make a difference and be a part of the solution to the world’s challenges, even from home. To take part in the event, participants have to register individually but work in teams.