With the advances in space-based technologies, societies become increasingly reliant on them, such as satellites for navigation, communication and weather prediction.
Over the weekend of 25 and 26 June 2021, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), in partnership with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), will host a virtual hackathon aimed at discovering solutions for the threats posed by space weather to satellite infrastructure.
The hackathon theme is aligned to the World Space Week theme, “Satellites improve life”, and focuses on the impact that satellites have on our daily lives. Emphasis will be placed on space weather which has been recognised as a global challenge impacting various technologies.
SANSA is inviting South Africans 18 years and older with an interest in the space sector to participate in this hackathon. Students, developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, computer scientists, programmers, data scientists and all-rounders are especially encouraged to take part.
The hackathon will give participants an opportunity to come up with creative and innovate ways of sourcing data from citizen scientists that could assist researchers in understanding the effects of space weather on systems such as GPS.
Researchers and scientists from SANSA will be available during the hackathon to give guidance and feedback to participants, who are expected to present their ideas to the judges before the close of the 24-hour hackathon.
Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, SANSA managing director, describes this hackathon as an important intervention in the quest to manage the global challenge of space weather. “This event will demonstrate how innovation and teamwork can result in applicable solutions. We encourage collaboration as a way of tapping into the potential of South Africa’s role in solving this global problem.”
Participants may sign up as a team or individually and will have 24 hours to come up with an innovative and creative solution to the problem statement.
There are cash prizes to be won and the winning team will receive a sponsored trip to visit the top space facilities in the Western Cape, including the SANSA campus in Hermanus.