Hackathon ActInSpace at CZU in Prague






This year, the very first year of the international hackathon-type innovation competition ActInSpace initiated by CNES (French National Space Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency) took place in the Czech Republic. The event took place simultaneously in 71 cities of 35 countries and 5 continents. The goal was to find an innovative use of space technology with business potential within 24 hours according to one of 80 predetermined challenges.


The national round of ActInSpace 2018 Prague took place on Friday and Saturday 25-26 May 2018 in the Circular Hall of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. A total of 70 people took part in it, and 9 teams of contestants, consisting of 2 to 5 members with different interests, competed for the prize, while one four-member team represented CZU in Prague. At the same time, there were 28 diversely specialized mentors on site – 3 from ČZU in Prague – ready to help the teams with both business and technical issues. A five-member jury awarded awards to the three best teams.

Third place went to the Hungarian team "RapidSense", which developed a multi-step method that uses satellite data to position solar panels on roofs in the most efficient way, taking into account their average daily efficiency and shading. At the same time, the team dealt with the issue of global temperature change caused by the loss of vegetation.

The silver medal was won by the "Let's Earth" team focused on reducing the financial burden on consumers from public sources through an application enabling property owners to efficiently use renewable energy sources. Thanks to analytical services, customers are introduced to a detailed and tailor-made recommendation on how to make the most feasible savings while using renewable resources.

The jury awarded the best to the "VRUE4" team with the Farway project, a 3D visualization and planning engine for missions and operations located at great distances - whether in space, on land or under the surface of the oceans. The developed software allows operators to visualize the mission environment and the behavior of individual actors and, thanks to this, to plan the given mission down to the smallest detail. As input, it collects data from analysis and simulation tools such as Matlab&Simulink, LabView, ROS and STK. From this data, an accurate and photorealistic model of the given mission is further created with the possibility of visualizing the elements important for the given mission, either in 3D or using immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. The software can also receive live telemetry data from control systems such as OpenMCT to visualize the mission in real time. If something is not within the parameters of a given mission, the operator has the ability to change it directly in the Farway tool and send that modification back to the analysis and simulation tools for validation. The icing on the cake is the ability to simulate sensory input based on visual data for machine vision and learning systems, which can help semi-autonomous and autonomous systems learn to behave based on various mission situations that can be simulated in this tool.

The authors of the Farway project will go to the international finals at the Toulouse Space Show on June 27, 2018, where they will present their idea in front of internationally recognized technical and business experts in the field of space technology and will compete with the winners of the national rounds of all participating countries for interesting prizes. The winner of the international round will receive, for example, pilot training in the Airbus A320 simulator, the opportunity to experience weightlessness with a Zero G flight, or a financial contribution of up to 100,000 euros for data from satellite images and support in establishing their own start-up.

Not only the award-winning teams, but all participants of the event, including the mentors present, deserve recognition. On behalf of the organizers ESA BIC Prague, we would like to thank everyone who participated in this year's ActInSpace Prague. We believe that the time and energy spent on this event was worthwhile. ActInSpace is more than just a competition. It's an opportunity to meet other space technology enthusiasts and try to come up with the most fantastic ideas together in a creative and motivating atmosphere that can become reality.

Abridged and adapted from ESA business incubation center Prague.

Photo gallery:

Photos from the event

ESA business incubation center Prague