NASA’s Space Tech Prize Bolsters Diversity, Inclusivity Champions 

By Tiernan P. Doyle (

NASA selected the first winners of the agency’s Space Tech Catalyst prize to expand engagement with underrepresented and diverse individuals in the space technology sector as part of the agency’s broader commitment to inclusivity and collaboration. The winners are receiving $25,000 each to create more inclusive space technology ecosystems.

“As NASA continues to explore the unknown, making the impossible possible, we are committed to engaging talents from all backgrounds to advance exploration,” said Shahra Lambert, NASA senior advisor for engagement. “By providing funding to this space technology community, NASA is ensuring the Artemis Generation will have the necessary tools to expand humanity’s reach.”

Winning individuals and organizations demonstrate the best collaboration practices with diverse researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs. The champions also bring effective strategies that contribute to NASA’s ongoing efforts to develop a representative space technology landscape, while enhancing its ability to find creative solutions to technical challenges.

The winners are:

  • Caitlin O’Brien, SciAccess, Inc.
  • Zainab Abbas, SciTech@U
  • Bahiy Watson, The 1881 Institute
  • Amber Imai-Hong, Mahina Aerospace
  • Marta Miletic, San Diego State University
  • Felecia Brown, NorthStar of GIS
  • Diego Sandoval, Cyncrocity
  • Arif Rahman, Hawaii Pacific University
  • Sierra Brown
  • Denise Thorsen, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Joshua Neubert, Institute of Competition Sciences
  • Madison Feehan, Space Copy, Inc.
  • Johnie Turnage, Black Tech Saturdays
  • Athip Thirupathi Raj, University of Arizona SpaceTREx Lab
  • Janeya Griffin, Equity Space Alliance, Inc.
  • Annika Rollock, Aurelia Institute
  • M. von Nkosi, Institute for Local Innovations, Inc.
  • Joseph Grant, New Generation Solutions SST
  • Sambit Bhattacharya, Fayetteville State University
  • Dalia David, Honest Eating, LLC

Each winner was selected for proving their ability to engage and develop underrepresented groups in space technology development, broaden NASA’s outreach efforts to diverse sources of developers, and build a community of emerging innovators equipped to compete for the agency’s technology development opportunities.

“We are proud to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional individuals and organizations leading the way in building an inclusive community in space technology for the benefit of humanity,” said Denna Lambert, inclusive innovation team lead, Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Their dedication and success in engaging underrepresented groups will undoubtedly inspire others to join us in advancing the frontiers of space exploration and innovation.”

To increase collaboration between NASA and its community partners, each winner will attend an in-person event at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Representatives from NASA and the winning organizations will participate in community-building activities to emphasize knowledge sharing, increase awareness of NASA’s competitive research and development environment, and expand the agency’s reach into diverse innovator communities.

The Space Tech Catalyst Prize, funded by STMD, is part of a commitment to expand NASA’s network of competitive proposers and enhance engagement approaches.


Jimi Russell
Headquarters, Washington

Gerelle Dodson
Headquarters, Washington

Navigating New Frontiers: Space Tech Catalyst Prize Panel Recording and Resource Repository

We encourage you to watch the webinar recording to gain valuable perspectives from our panelists and learn more about the prize. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of resources referenced during the webinar:

NASA Software Catalog Offers Free Programs for Earth Science, More

Each year, NASA scientists, engineers, and developers create software packages to manage space missions, test spacecraft, and analyze the petabytes of data produced by agency research satellites. As the agency innovates for the benefit of humanity, many of these programs are now downloadable and free of charge through NASA’s Software Catalog.

The 2023-2024 Software Catalog contains more than 1,000 programs, including dozens of new packages added this year.

Among the 15 different categories of NASA software available through the catalog is environmental science. Whether it means helping farmers navigate crop-destroying droughts, tracking deadly storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes, or mapping floods, fires, and more, NASA’s fleet of Earth-observation satellites allows an “eye-in-the-sky” advantage to spot events, features, and long-term trends on our ever-changing planet.

“By making our innovations available to the public, we fulfill our goal of helping NASA’s research and technology development find new uses beyond space exploration,” said Daniel Lockney, program executive for the agency’s Technology Transfer program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re proud to make NASA software more accessible through our easy-to-use website, and we are dedicated to continuing this ‘customer-service’ approach to software release.”

Among the environmental science software included in the catalog are:

  • A popular modeling software that provides values for atmospheric parameters, such as temperature and winds, for any month and location in Earth’s atmosphere
  • A geospatial system for disaster response using low-cost hardware such as digital cameras or cellphones
  • A cloud-based toolkit that allows collaboration among researchers in Earth science
  • An algorithm to accurately forecast lighting strikes
  • A framework that combines maps with satellite-based rainfall estimates to identify potential landslide hazards
  • A platform built for interactive browsing of near-real-time satellite imagery to help with time-critical scenarios such as wildfires or flooding
    NASA scientists and software experts, who use satellite data and more to better understand Earth, 

To complement the Software Catalog, NASA’s Technology Transfer program has also built a Remote Sensing Toolkit. The web-based set of tools helps users find, analyze, and use the most relevant satellite data for research, business projects, or conservation efforts.

Beyond environmental science, the catalog also includes software packages for system testing, aeronautics, business systems and project management, data and image processing, crew and life support, and more.

The Software Catalog is a product of NASA’s Technology Transfer program, managed for the agency by STMD. NASA routinely makes improvements to the Software Catalog website, ensuring the process is fast and easy. The program ensures technologies developed by and for NASA are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to American taxpayers.

Access restrictions apply to some software that may be limited to use by U.S. citizens or for U.S. government purposes only.

Review the catalog online at: