TAMPA (FOX 13) - A team from Tampa is competing in a contest to build a new kind of satellite. If they win, they'll get $5 million.
Team Miles is in a new kind of Space Race. They're designing a cube satellite. It's very small and relatively inexpensive.
Team member Wesley Faler says it's propelled by an engine that uses solid iodine to produce electricity that rips gasses and produces thrust.
"If we can prove that works, then lots of people can go out and do this, the costs come down, and everything just explodes," says Faler.
NASA has plans to deploy the cube satellites from its Orion spacecraft carried by its new SLS rocket to be it's largest and most powerful ever.
NASA is holding a contest to find the best technology for the cube satellites. The team from Tampa beat others from across the country, including from prestigious universities, in the first several rounds of the competition.
The Tampa team talks about the degrees they don't have.
"Not one person is a professional aerospace engineer, not one," says team member Alex Wingeier.
There are about 15 members scattered over the country but based in Tampa. Their backgrounds range from IT professionals to art teachers.
"The wildest dreams would be to build a $100 million dollar company right here in Tampa and employee all my friends and have them set for life and have me set for life, and keep playing and inventing like this and keep dreaming," says Faler.
A NASA team of judges recently visited Team Miles. They're in the final round of the contest. They expect to hear the results early next month.