The Rocket City Gains Global Recognition: NASA International Space Apps Challenge & Urban Engine Bring Innovation To New Heights

September 25, 2018

Urban Engine, a local non-profit organization aimed at accelerating STEAM-focused initiatives among the millennial startup community, has recently announced their 2nd annual engagement with the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, and with it comes the title of Mainstage – putting Huntsville on the map in global proportion.


The Space Apps Challenge is a global hackathon that occurs in cities around the world, and brings together coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, students, makers and builders to address global challenges issued by NASA. As part of the 2017 Space Apps Challenge, 187 hackathons were hosted across six continents, involving more than 25,000 participants.


Out of the many innovative cities hosting these events this year, only one city has been designated as the ‘Mainstage’ for Space Apps 2018, receiving global recognition via NASA syndication channels live from the event itself. This year, Huntsville will hold that title, thanks to the efforts behind Urban Engine and its supporting partners.


“We are honored to be selected as Mainstage and host this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage the community in something that can have massive, global impact,” said Toni Eberhart, Executive Director, Urban Engine. “Honoring Huntsville’s legacy in aerospace and aviation is something we’re so passionate about. To foster education and team collaboration in support of Space Apps, we’ll be providing a wealth of educational workshops at CoWorking Night which is designed to prepare teams and refine skills they’ll be using during the hackathon – and everything is being provided at no cost, thanks to our sponsors.”


The event, occurring on October 19-21, 2018 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, will kick off with a jam-packed agenda to include a career and technology expo, Data Boot Camp, keynote speakers, educational panels, and more. The event is being facilitated by Urban Engine and is presented by the City of Huntsville, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation. Additional sponsors of Space Apps Huntsville 2018 include Huntsville STEAMworks, WAAY-TV, the American Institute of Aeronautics and



Astronautics, Booz Allen Hamilton, and  Winners of the local hackathon will have the chance to take home up to $10,000 in cash and prizes.


“INTUITIVE® is always looking for innovative ways to help foster our community’s economic development in the aerospace and defense markets” said Hal Brewer, Co-founder and Chairman, Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation. “Being able to partner with organizations such as Urban Engine, who is paving the way for many young, inspiring entrepreneurs, and NASA, the cornerstone of our community’s capabilities , is an honor. Space Apps challenges our professionals, young and old, to think outside the box and tackle real-world problems at a global scale; we’ll be having our own team in the challenge – and I encourage other companies in our talented community to do the same!”


Traditionally, hackathons are technology development marathons that draw on the talents and initiative of bright-minded volunteers –such as software developers, engineers, technologists, designers, scientists, students and anyone with a passion and desire to have an immediate impact on the world. Hackathons are open to anyone and are focused on developing real solutions to global challenges by the end of the event. For each year’s Space Apps event, NASA designs challenges, and works with local host cities around the world to implement events where teams work intensively to design solutions over the course of a 48-hour period. This year’s challenges are centered around the theme of Earth and Space, and include categories focused on structure development, earth discovery and education, natural disasters, space exploration, ways to better understand Earth’s cryosphere and more.


On the heels of Urban Engine’s recent announcement for being selected as a Mainstage also came their mid-year organizational update (published in June 2018), which included a 21% growth of programming, a 43% growth in membership, and a 22% increase in local businesses supported, all occurring within the past 2 years. Urban Engine has been recognized as Huntsville’s only entrepreneurial incubator, with continued backing from well known, Huntsville-based companies such as Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation, Huntsville STEAMworks, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the City of Huntsville, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, WAAY-TV and more.


The Details:


For information on how you can register as a participant for the Huntsville event as part of the 2018 Space Apps Challenge, visit


For more information on how your company can sponsor the event or take place in the career and technology expo that’s part of the event agenda, visit


For more information on the challenge categories recently published by NASA for 2018, visit


Get Social:

#spaceapps #spaceappshsv #urbanengine




Urban Engine is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization on a mission to propel the growth of North Alabama’s economy. Their programs accelerate STEAM innovation, connect aspiring entrepreneurs and established business leadership with educational resources, talent, and community, and provide a platform for professional development unique to the state. To be part of the revolution by becoming a sponsor, or to become a member, you can learn more at


Space Apps is an international hackathon led by NASA that occurs over 48 hours in cities around the world. Coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and everyone enthusiastic about Earth and Space come together to address challenges we face on Earth and in space! To learn more, visit


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