Recap of the 2022 NASA Space Apps Challenge for the Sacramento region in Folsom California

Introduction from Brett: Here is yet another inspirational example that proves you never know where great people – and great ideas – will come from. In July 2022, I was introduced to Ingrid Rosten in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of Sacramento, California. Ingrid works with entrepreneurs in developing countries to help them launch and grow their business in the USA. She has also been an organizer of the international NASA Space Apps Challenge “hackathon” for the Sacramento region. We got acquainted and quickly agreed that we need to make it happen again. The next Challenge was approaching soon: on the weekend of October 1 & 2, 2022. It did happen! Here is a recap of the successful event. My huge thanks and kudos to Ingrid, our generous sponsors, our four judges, NASA, and all of our innovative, passionate, and creative participants! Some of them will be continuing with the projects they created in this weekend-long innovation sprint. It’s yet another example that proves that “rocket science” needs and benefits from many more people than rocket scientists.

NASA International Space Apps Challenge for the Sacramento California Region

The NASA Space Apps Challenge Sacramento 2022 Hackathon was a total blast! We want to thank and congratulate all the participants for joining in the weekend hackathon event and for working hard on the challenges proposed by NASA. We had adults and kids alike join in the mix to make an interesting and fun-filled weekend both in-person and at home.

Team working at the 2022 NASA Space Apps Challenge – Sacramento

The in-person event was held at The Granite School in Folsom, home of the Northern California Innovation District. Thank you to Phil Scott and everyone associated with NCID who made this space available for us!

Judges and attendees alike learned so much and agreed that space and earth have so much to teach us and we have much to learn and explore. We will share some photos from the event to give you a peek into the remarkable event.

The organizers and judges applaud one of the presentations

The challenges ranged in nature from “How does climate change affect you?” to “Build a space biology superhero.” Teams could even “Create your own” challenge – and they did! 

Most importantly, we wish to thank our sponsors this year: AIAA, NCID, Tecma, Brett Hoffstadt, ACM Chapter Sacramento and Abraham Vasant. It couldn’t have happened without you…our rock, our world! 

The weekend after this Challenge was another major event for Sacramento: the ACM 5th Future Worlds Symposium.

We had a total of 10 pitch presentations on Sunday afternoon. Here are some examples:

Anthony Thang presenting a video game that he created
A young NASA Challenge participant presenting her project

They followed with our judges and attendees voting for 1st, 2ndand People’s Choice Awards which were:

AWARD                             TEAM NAME                                              CHALLENGE TITLE

People’s Choice               FCUSD ACM Student Chapter Team 1       How Does Climate Change Affect You?

2nd Place                           California                                                       Learning Through the Looking Glass

1st Place                            Rome_Venus                                                 Exploring Venus Together

FCUSD ACM Student Chapter Team 1 accepting their award 
2022 NASA Space Apps Challenge Sacramento award winner
2022 NASA Space Apps Challenge Sacramento award winner

Our esteemed judges included L Jane Hansen, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur. She also is a leader with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Sacramento section; Yang Ni CEO/President of CalNY Ventures, an investment and promotions firm for emerging technologies with offices in the U.S., U.K. and several Asian locations and Farid Ismayilzada, Founder/CEO of Technovate Investments LLC, a venture studio which invests in world-class technology start-up ventures from the developing world now growing them in the Sacramento region.

Judges for the 2022 NASA Challenge – Sacramento Region

They asked the right questions and were quickly able to hone in on our top two winners.

Some incredible prizes (games, toys, memorabilia, and books) were donated by Brett Hoffstadt (including several books he authored himself)

Prizes and books donated by Brett Hoffstadt

Another prize included a tour and Q&A with the team of Tecma, a space-rated expert machining firm which produces parts made from exotic metals, high-temp alloys and plastics right here in Sacramento. Thank you to Tecma for being one of the sponsors and supporters of this event!

Tecma capabilities

Major thanks and recognition is deserved to the Sacramento Section of AIAA, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As the local group of the world’s largest professional society dedicated to the aerospace and aviation communities, this event wouldn’t have been possible with their support from a financial and volunteer perspective.

Sponsor table from the AIAA Sacramento Section

Of the 85 registrants, 32 participated on-site; all participants have the opportunity to work on teams around the world virtually through the NASA site. Though we have no way to know who may have joined which virtual teams we wish them much success.

Any and all teams were able to submit their project to NASA for judging by their experts with the opportunity of winning a visit and/or tour of a space launch site, what a prize! If you didn’t make it, stay tuned for the next one in 2023.

While awards are an exciting and compelling reason to participate in Space Apps, NASA wants to remind everyone that Space Apps is, at its core, is a collaborative enterprise — not a competitive one. Above all else, they hope that participants have the opportunity to learn, grow, and share. They celebrate all of the ideas and efforts, whether or not they receive an award!

In this vein, please consider the goals of NASA Space Apps 2022

● To inspire collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking

● To foster interest in Earth and space science and exploration

● To raise awareness of NASA and Space Agency Partners’ data around the world

● To encourage growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers, engineers, and artists

We wish to thank our incredible volunteers: Brett Hoffstadt, Phil Scott, Abraham Vasant, Anthony Thang and Safiya Ismayilzada for all your hard work to make it happen. 

Ingrid and two judges presenting the awards for the Sacramento 2022 NASA Space Apps Challenge

About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in engineering, ideas, and innovation. In addition to 2 degrees, 3 patents, and over 15 years experience in aerospace engineering, he is the author of several books to foster STEM careers. He volunteers his time and skills as an officer with professional societies.

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