Space Apps Toronto

9.00 am, Toronto



Interested in applying technical skills to problems in the space industry? Apply for a NASA-affiliated hackathon running in Toronto this Autumn!



Discover training opportunities at the hackathon! Space Apps Toronto will feature events on skills-building, research in astronomy, and more. The final schedule will be published closer to the event.



As a Toronto-based hackathon, you have the option of taking on either a Canadian Space Agency challenge or a NASA challenge for the competition!

From the Canadian Space Agency: “This year, we have 2 types of challenges: NASA Challenges and CSA Challenges.  Teams are only allowed to participate for either a NASA Challenge or CSA Challenge (not both!).  Both competitions will have their own judging and prizes”

Find the lists of challenges at the links below!



Guest speakers

Professor Philip Asare

Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto's Division of Engineering Science and the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education and Practice (ISTEP) (he/him)

Professor Asare sees engineering as an activity geared towards human goals, full of rich and interesting stories of how particular ideas or products came to be. His approach to engineering and engineering education focuses this view of engineering as a human activity, and the implication of this perspective for engineering education and practice. A significant theme of Philip’s teaching and projects focuses on how we educate engineers to operate in the complex socio-technical world, particularly how we create an engineering community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and the related benefits for society of such an engineering community.

Taryn Tomlinson

Director of Sun-Earth Systems Science at the Canadian Space Agency (she/her)

Taryn will discuss the Canadian Space Agency’s Mandate to to promote the peaceful use and development of space, and how that feeds into her daily work of advancing space as a vantage point for monitoring of our planet, our atmosphere, and the interactions with our sun. She wants you to be able to walk away from this presentation and speak to WHY we observe the planet, HOW we do it, and WHO are the players. Like her title, she and her team are fascinated by all space phenomena between the sun and the planet… and finding ways to monitor and protect our little blue dot.

Professor Alex Ellery

Canada Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Carleton University (he/him)

Professor Ellery, a Canada Research Professor with a specialist interest in space robotics, has been at Carleton University for 15 years after emigrating from the UK whence he was at the Surrey Space Centre. He has written over 200 scientific papers and is the author of two textbooks An Introduction to Space Robotics (2000) and Planetary Rovers (2015) both published by Praxis-Springer Publishers. His educational background is a BSc (Hons) Physics, MSc Astronomy and PhD Astronautics & Space Engineering and is an alumnus of the International Space University (1993) summer school.


James Costa

Group Product Manager at League, Space Apps Toronto alumnus (he/him)

James has been devising, concocting, and building digital products for over 13 years. Currently, he’s a Group Product Manager at League, a health tech scale-up focused on helping people better access healthcare.

Fun fact: James started Space Apps Toronto over 8 years ago — and is so excited to be back as a judge and see how the team at SEDS has grown it!

Julie Claveau

Program Scientist in Space Astronomy at the Canadian Space Agency (she/her)

Julie Claveau graduated with a degree in Physics and Astronomy. She is Program Scientist in Space Astronomy at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for Canadian contributions to missions like the James Webb Space Telescope and the UV Imaging Telescope. She is also CSA’s Co-Chair of the Women in STEM committee. She previously worked as an Earth Observation Mission Planner for the RADARSAT-2 mission and as Project Manager for the RADARSAT-1 Open Data project which aims to open this historical archive to the public. She also worked in military operations as Naval Warfare Officer for the Canadian Navy and in public administration. Her passion for space started at a young age, stargazing for hours, which then followed with a passion with the physics of space and our place in the universe.


Angus Ryer

Co-Founder & Technical Lead, Whippersnapps Digital Inc. (he/him)

Angus Ryer has a fairly broad background in the music industry, construction, retail, and software. He has started and grown two businesses. The greatest joy he gets though is when he is staring at the stars or collaborating to solve problems to get us there.


The event not only serves as a learning opportunity with guest speakers working in the space sector, but also offers you the chance to compete and win prizes! Participants are all set to receive a certificate from NASA, too. Learn more information from NASA below.

NASA writes: “While the main purpose of the hackathon is to encourage collaboration and cooperation, Space Apps 2021 will have winners. We will be offering the same 6 awards that we have in previous years, plus 4 BRAND NEW awards — to bring us up to a total of 10 awards in celebration of our 10th annual event!

  • “Best Use of Science: The solution that makes the best and most valid use of science and/or the scientific method.
  • Best Use of Data: The solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.
  • Best Use of Technology: The solution that exemplifies the most innovative use of technology.
  • Galactic Impact: The solution with the most potential to improve life on Earth or in the universe.
  • Best Mission Concept: The solution with the most plausible concept and design.
  • Most Inspirational: The solution that captures our hearts.
  • NEW Best Storytelling Award: The solution that most creatively communicates the potential of open data through the art of storytelling.
  • NEW Global Connection Award: The solution that best connects people around the world through technology.
  • NEW Art & Technology Award: The solution that most effectively combines technical and creative skills.
  • NEW Local Impact Award: The solution that demonstrates the greatest potential for local impact.

“Please note that NASA reserves the right to change the award categories at any time.”

For more information, visit the Participant FAQ on NASA’s website linked here!

NOTICE for participants under 18 years old

Are you an interested participant under 18 years of age? If so, you are welcome to join with registration and accompaniment by a parent or legal guardian.

From NASA’s FAQ: “Participants who are under the age of 18 are required to be registered for the event by a parent or legal guardian and must be accompanied during the event at all times by a parent or legal guardian.” Read more from NASA’s Participant Terms and Conditions.



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Each time you make an eligible purchase with a University of Toronto MBNA Rewards Credit Card, MBNA contributes a portion of funds to U of T to support alumni and student initiatives. You will also receive reward points you can redeem for travel, gift cards, cash back, and more! Open to U of T alumni, faculty and staff. see:

The DAA at the University of Toronto is at the forefront of both theoretical and experimental research in the field. It also offers a wide range of courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. Website:

The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto is an endowed research institute with over 50 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, groundbreaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. Website:

Interested in sponsorship? Contact the team at to learn more!

Bonus event: NYC's Global Pre-Hackathon Symposium

Excited for NASA Space Apps 2021? Check out an international Pre-Hackathon Symposium running on October 1 by Space Apps NYC! Catch more information at the Eventbrite page linked below.

Space Apps NYC writes: “On Friday October 1st, 2021 the NYC Local Event of the NASA Space Apps Challenge Hackathon will be hosting a Pre-Hackathon Symposium that all locations and people across the world will be invited to attend! It will be hosted on Zoom but then live streamed via YouTube so that you too can ask the speakers questions in real time!

“Things are developing quickly and are changing daily but we are hoping to have the speakers talking from 8am throughout the day until 10pm all in Eastern Standard Time (in an attempt to cover most time zones at least a little).

Confirmed Speakers:

-Ariel Ekblaw – Director MIT Space Exploration Initiative

-Carter Emmart – the Director of Astrovisualization for the American Museum of Natural History

-Karen Lopez – Data Evangelist for InforAdvisors, Space Enthusiast, & NASA Datanaut

-Wade Minter – Technology Executive and NHL Public Address Announcer

-Lisa Tagliaferri, PhD – Director of Developer Education – Sourcegraph

-Irene Pease – Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer

-Fernando Salvador – Founder, STEM the Violence

Robert Jacobson – Entrepreneur, advisor, space advocate and author.

Sean Keegan – Developer Advocate – Postman


“Please stay tuned for a formal list and schedule of speakers to be published, but trust me you will not want to miss some of these sessions! For more information on our speakers visit

“If interested please RSVP for the event to ensure you are updated when our formal schedule and all speakers are announced!”


Co-organizer contacts

Ishika Bangari

Space Apps Coordinator, Astronomy and Space Exploration Society (she/her)

I’ll help out with general inquiries regarding the event like project submissions, joining speaker sessions and team forming.


Links to the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society:

Aditi Kapil

Outreach Coordinator, SEDS-Canada (she/her)

I can answer questions participants may have throughout the hackathon.


Rupanjot Gill

Operations/Logistics, RU Hacks (she/her)

I can help participants with general and logistical concerns regarding the discord server and the hackathon overall.





Are you an enthusiastic problem-solver and creator who also happens to be absolutely fascinated by Earth and space science?

If you answered yes, we are thrilled to let you know that we – Astronomy & Space Exploration Society at the University of Toronto (ASX), Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – Canada (SEDS – Canada)RU Hacks at Ryerson University – are hosting this year’s Toronto NASA Space Apps Challenge.

In its milestone tenth year as the world’s largest international hackathon, the NASA Space Apps Challenge once again offers passionate problem-solvers a unique opportunity show off their inventive skills. We’re looking forward to Toronto’s many interdisciplinary innovators joining us for a weekend full of coding, analysis, design, and artistry. By joining Space Apps 2021 in Toronto, not only will you have the chance to work with data gathered by NASA and partner space agencies like the Canadian Space Agency, but you will also interact with some of Toronto’s most accomplished programmers, engineers, and astronomers. Your team might even be nominated to compete internationally and win exciting awards!

So, why wait to join the challenge?