If you think that all the fun has to end with the hackathon in April, think again! Meet NASA Space Apps Challenge 2016 contestants, the "ICE Cream Team.” A lot has been happening for the team since the unveiling of their project, L.I.V.E. Glacier, at the April 2016 competition in Rome, Italy (pictured below)!
L.I.V.E. Glacier consists of a web tool that provides near real-time information on glacier surface velocities and footprints, obtained by processing data from the Copernicus satellites Sentinel 1 and 2. This information is enriched with on-site photographs crowd-sourced through the tourist community. Now, the ICE Cream Team has developed a new “IceKing” app, which applies these crowd-sourced photos to promote sustainable tourism on glaciers.
With backgrounds ranging from environmental and aerospace engineering to business and design, the seven members of the ICE Cream Team came together thanks to mutual interests in climate change and aerospace. The team’s chemistry was evident as they developed ideas for creative uses of NASA data throughout the 48-hour Space Apps hackathon.
The ICE Cream Team’s efforts prevailed at Space Apps Rome, as their final creation, L.I.V.E. Glacier, went on to win the hackathon’s first prize of €1,500! The team was also selected to participate in the Space Apps Global Challenge with 250 other local winners from cities across the globe!
Following tough competition from the other impressive entries, in May of 2016, L.I.V.E. Glacier was awarded the Global Challenge’s “Galactic Impact Award!” The ICE Cream Team was invited to attend a launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, and meet senior NASA officials.
Caption: Social gathering with Space Apps 2016 winners at Cape Canaveral. #SpaceApps #IceCreamTeamgoestoNASA #LIVEGlacier #NASA @spaceapps
But the story of the ICE Cream Team isn’t finished! The team has been busy promoting their project advancing their idea in Italy and around the world! Immediately following their success at Space Apps, the ICE Cream Team won the “Best Idea” award (and €2,000) at #WIRE16 (Workshop Impresa Ricerca Economia), a pitch competition promoted by Frascati Scienza and held in Frascati, Italy, in June of 2016. “Among the jury were members from the business and startup world, which validated the project outside the space domain,” says ICE Cream Team’s Marketing and Social Media Manager Fabiana Milza, an aerospace engineer who was a first-time Space Apps participant!
Among the jury were members from the business and startup world, which validated the project outside the space domain.ICE Cream Team’s Marketing and Social Media Manager, Fabiana Milza
June continued to be a busy month for the ICE Cream Team, as the Italian delegation to the 59th session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) in Vienna proudly presented L.I.V.E. Glacier as an example of downstream services from open data. That same month, the L.I.V.E. Glacier project was also presented on the Italian TV show, “TG2 Insieme,” with the participation of Italian Space Agency President Roberto Battiston. “The team then received in-kind support from the Italian Space Agency,” says Milza, “namely, access to additional satellite data to improve our glacier monitoring capabilities.”
The L.I.V.E. Glacier’s winning streak continued in August, as the team received the European Space Agency’s (ESA) “Earth Observation Entrepreneurship Initiative” scholarship— funding of up to €15,000 towards the completion of a business plan and mock-ups. The award also included pre-incubation with BIC Lazio, where the team received training to develop a business plan, performed their first market validation, developed a first mock-up of the IceKing app, and advanced on the back-end of the L.I.V.E. Glacier platform.
The [ICE Cream Team] received in-kind support from the Italian Space Agency, namely access to additional satellite data to improve our glacier monitoring capabilities.Team member Fabiana Milza
Commemorating the ICE Cream Team’s impressive journey, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded them a scholarship for their September trip to Cape Canaveral, to showcase Italian talent abroad. That same month, the team also sent participants to the ESA App Camp week in Frascati, during which the IceKing app was further developed and the business model canvas was drafted.
Caption: #IceCREAMTeam meets Minister Nicoletti, Mr. Andrea Tobia Zevi, and Mrs. Calabrese at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. @ItalyMFA
Not showing any signs of slowing down, the team won runner-up at the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) “Environment, Energy and Health Challenge” at Copernicus Masters 2016. Their prize is an eight-month acceleration program with mentoring. In the fall of 2016, the ICE Cream Team also presented L.I.V.E. Glacier at the SpaceUp unconference in Milan, Italy, and the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Caption: On the road to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. #OSIRISREx #launch #NASA #IceCreamTeam #SpaceApps @AmbasciataUSA @spaceapps
The Space Apps alums have continued their upward trajectory in 2017. They competed in the Global Social Venture Competition - Italian Round Romano Rancilio Award, where they qualified for the final round of the top 6 companies out of 122 contestants. The ICE Cream Team won the She 4 Imp(act) Award for the best team with a majority of female founders! Their award consists of a three-month incubation period at the ImpactHub Milan accelerator. Additionally, the team pitched their idea at a gathering of impact investors, and are working hard on securing funding for the next stages of development.
Through a partnership between the U.S. Embassy in Rome, ESA, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), this year’s Space Apps Rome will be held once again at La Sapienza University. The ICE Cream Team plans to return to their NASA Space Apps roots for the 2017 Space Apps Challenge April 29-30th, and we look forward to seeing them— and YOU— there! Participant registration is now open!!!
For more info. about the ICE Cream Team:
Photos courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Rome's PA audio/visual staff, and @icecreamnasa
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