Space Apps wasn’t always the largest annual global hackathon in the world.

The first Space Apps in 2012 was attended by approximately 2,000 people at 25 events in 17 countries. Since then, the program has grown rapidly in numbers, breadth, and depth. Take a look at the chart below to see how the number of participants, number of events, and number of countries hosting events has climbed steadily over the past decade!

These statistics reached new heights in 2020, during the pandemic, with the addition of the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge event to the yearly Space Apps 2020, culminating in a grand total of over 40,000 participants engaged and 250+ “local virtual” events run by Local Leads in 87 countries!


In the early years, Space Apps was primarily focused on space science and technology. However, in 2017, Space Apps moved to the NASA Earth Science Division and expanded to include both Earth and space science and tech. Today, Space Apps features arts and humanities challenges alongside the technology challenges, building a more inclusive program with broader appeal, the highest participation numbers ever, and a marked increase in projects submitted with technology and art themes.

The Space Apps Challenge attributes much of its growth and success to its Local Leads. The event wouldn’t be possible without them! Local Leads organize an in-person or virtual locally-focused event for a specific city/town or group, working to increase local awareness and engagement in the Space Apps Challenge taking place each October. Local Leads create incredible outcomes in their communities and impact around the world. You can read more about the impact of Local Leads in our blog

Interested in becoming a Local Lead?

The Local Lead application for the 2023 event is currently open! Please complete this form if you are interested in being a Local Lead for the 2023 event and make sure you apply by June 15th, 2023.


Where will all of this growth and success take us in the years to come? The Space Apps Global Organizing (GO) Team has big plans for continued expansion and improvement of quality for the program. The name of the GO Team’s strategy for the next decade is “Space Apps X.” Details coming soon!


Thank you to everyone who has been involved with Space Apps over the years - participants, volunteers, space agency partners, and NASA enthusiasts!

We hope you’ll join us for this year’s event and beyond.