NASA challenge blasts off in Scotland for the first time

SQA is sponsoring the NASA International SpaceApps Challenge, which is being held in Scotland for the first time at the University of Strathclyde on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April.

Budding technologists, programmers, software developers and coders are invited to the event this weekend to tackle a series of challenges direct from the final frontier. 

Over 48-hours, teams of volunteers will work round the clock to solve a series of problems and challenges set by scientists from NASA and a local organising committee.

Uniquely, the International SpaceApps Challenge is running simultaneously in 75 cities around the world, meaning the teams from Glasgow will be able to collaborate on their projects in real time with colleagues across the globe - and above it - as astronauts on the International Space Station are also planning on taking part.

The teams in Glasgow will tackle a series of challenges including developing an app for smartphones and tablets which visualises and alerts users to the location of the International Space Station when it is in orbit above their location and map and mimic the movements of the Curiosity Mars Rover using live data the probe sends back to Earth from the surface of the Red Planet.

Speaking about the challenge, event coordinator Paul Mason, said: “It is a huge privilege to run the International SpaceApps Challenge in Scotland for the first time. We are running ten challenges in Glasgow over the weekend and at the end of the event, NASA will collate the work from all of the challenge locations and make it available as a massive online learning resource. We have still got places available, so if you are interested in science, computer programming, engineering or just pushing technology beyond what it was meant to do, come down and see us.”

Alastair MacGregor, Head of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Subjects, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for people in Scotland to collaborate with others around the world, get their hands on live challenges and contribute to a finished solution that will be freely available to the wider public.  Hopefully the event will also inspire young people to consider further study and possibly careers in science, engineering and technology industries.”

If you are interested in coming along to the Glasgow event, sign up at 

The International SpaceApps Challenge Glasgow is sponsored by SQA, Geeks Without Bounds, GeekSoc and GitHub Social Coding.