For the 10th time, the European Space Agency (ESA) is inviting up to 25 dedicated developers to participate in its prestigious Space App Camp. It is the first time that the ESA Space App Camp has offered an enhanced mentorship programme to its participants: a comprehensive learning and mobile software development scheme spread throughout an eight-week long period and supported by experts in Earth observation (EO), artificial intelligence, intellectual property protection and business development. The winners will be rewarded with cash prizes and a unique Earth observation support package to allow them to continue working on their winning app idea. They will also be invited to participate to the ESA’s 2022 Living Planet Symposium as well as ESA’s PhiWeek, all costs covered.

The ESA Space App Camp aims to make EO data and services accessible to a wide range of citizens using their smart phones or personal devices. An array of Earth observation satellites, including the Sentinel satellites providing data to the Copernicus programme, collect today a vast amount of data. This big data from space can reveal information on our planet’s atmosphere, land, and water, and offer countless opportunities creating attractive, even transformational applications in connection with mobile apps.

The Space App Camp participants will be introduced to the Copernicus data and learn about the many ways in which big data from space can enrich mobile apps using a dedicated API for EO data. The 2021 virtual edition revolves around an enhanced cooperation with the ESA Ф-Lab whose mission is to accelerate the future of Earth Observation (EO) by discovering new transformational ideas, and selecting, maturing, testing, and nurturing the most promising concepts.  The Space App Camp participating teams can expand and demonstrate the practical skills while developing functional prototypes of their mobile apps. 

Those who attend will be tasked with devising innovative apps and feasible business models in one of various subject areas, e.g. Marine Litter and Coastal Zones Management; Early-Warning Fire Detection; Artificial Intelligence in EO data; Smart Cities in 3D; Health & Tropical Disease Risk Forecasting; Education applications for EO and AI; and Gamification. For the first time, applicants can apply with their existing or independent ideas for app development and will receive mentoring in technology-oriented pillars (e.g. EO, blockchain, edge-AI, annotated semantic data models, etc.) to lift their mobile app concepts or early prototypes to the next level.

During the ESA Space App Camp attendees will additionally benefit from dedicated technical, business, and legal coaching from ESA and international experts; meet one-on-one prominent guests; join an elite group of like-minded people from all over Europe; and have the opportunity to win precious awards and present the results of their work via a dedicated Award Ceremony. Topping this is the prospect of attending the most prominent ESA EO event called PhiWeek to be held in October 2021 and the ESA’s week-long Living Planet Symposium in 2022.

Carlos García, part of the 2020 winning team, says, “The ESA Space App Camp is a terrific opportunity to create an app from scratch while being advised by first-level professionals. Although everything was virtual in my year, it was a fantastic learning experience to block a week and be devoted to generating a meaningful app.”

The recruitment to the Space App Camp begins on June 17th and will last until July 8th 2021. Interested students, entrepreneurs, researchers, developers and economists are able to register online as individuals or teams (of up to four people) at

This year’s edition is specifically looking for participants with profiles in mobile app development, EO applications development, machine learning and artificial intelligence and business development. From the received applications it will be up to 25 participants that will be selected to take part in the 8-week-long mentoring programme from 20 July – 20 September 2021 featuring dedicated bi-weekly learning and development sessions.

The teams will then compete for the App Camp Prizes:

  • EUR 2,500 (equally distributed amongst the winning team)
  • An opportunity to participate in the week-long ESA’s Living Planet Symposium, currently planned between 23 May and 27 May 2022 in Bonn, Germany (all participation fees, travel and accommodation costs are covered by ESA);
  • A unique Earth observation support package worth approx. EUR 3,500 (including: technical EO data consultancy, 8 hours of software engineering services, access to a global network of EO experts in applied and technical fields, support from professional ESA business developers, e.g. to find launching customers, 4 places on an online EO business development course)

Moreover, all of the teams can apply for further incubation at one of the ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs).

Since the Space App Camp’s inception 10 years ago, around 480 developers from 30 countries have applied to participate and more than 60 applications have been developed. Some of these have already found their way into commercially viable applications.