Rwanda Space Hackathon 2023

May 29, 2023 Patrick Grubbs
Rwanda Space Hackathon 2023

We launched our first hackathon on space engineering, biology and art on May 6th, 2023, in Kigali, Rwanda!

What is a Space Hackathon?

In recent years, multidisciplinary teams have become increasingly essential to tackle challenges that are bigger than one person, such as space exploration. To address these issues, national and international hackathons have emerged as a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration and problem-solving. By bringing together individuals with diverse perspectives, skills, and resources, hackathons enable rapid development of innovative solutions at the intersection of different fields.

For The Spring Institute, hackathons center around challenges related to space, which are interwoven with biology, engineering, and art. Participants have the opportunity to acquire new skills, connect with experts, and solve real-world problems. Meanwhile, the organizing team gains insights from the range of innovative ideas and forms new long-term partnerships, while also advancing their mission.

Hackathons offer an environment that fosters productivity by providing a focused, distraction-free space for participants to work on a single issue and engage in technical and scientific discussions with peers. Registration fees are typically waived to promote inclusivity, and teams work collaboratively in small groups for 12 hours to develop and present their solutions. Throughout the event, teams receive expert guidance and are encouraged to refine their proposals before the final pitch.

May 6th, 2023: First Spring Hackathon in Kigali, Rwanda

3 challenges, 8 teams, 12 hours!

  • The Art of Space Ecology: The goal of this challenge was to build a visual model illustrating the dynamics of a hypothetical space ecosystem.
  • Moonscaping: The goal of this challenge was to build a terrarium that will fit inside a 1.5 CubeSat unit.
  • Sensor-Package: The goal of this challenge was to develop a space-compatible sensor package that can be used to monitor the abiotic factors of a hypothetical ecosystem in space.

A total of 8 teams participated in the hackathon, each focusing on one of the three different challenges.

Who were the teams?

  • The Future Engineers
  • Future Engineers (who coincidentally chose the same name!)
  • Bio-Explorers
  • Terra Luna
  • SLX electrical hub
  • The Legends
  • Blue Team
  • Red Team

Who were the winners?

  • The Art of Space Ecology challenge winners: The Legends and Bio-Explorers
  • Moonscaping challenge winner: Team Blue
  • Sensor Package challenge winner: Terra Luna

Who were the judges?

  • Dr. Noel Gahamanyi – Lecturer, University of Rwanda
  • Dolph Banza – Digital Artist, InkStain
  • Leandre Twizeyimana – Flight Operations Lead, Zipline
  • Louise Fleischer – President, The Spring Institute

Thanks to our Sponsors!

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For the Spring Institute, this hackathon presented a unique opportunity to gather innovative ideas, engage with diverse perspectives, and make significant progress toward solving real-world problems. We are eager to see what incredible projects will emerge from this event and are excited to forge new long-term partnerships along the way.

See you in 2024 for the second edition of the Rwanda Space Hackathon!