b'C H A P T E R 13T H E T R I U M P H O F P O L I T I C A L G RA V I TY O V E R N U C L EA R F L I G H TThus, some replacement research cameto Idaho. The new work made some useof TANs empire of buildings. Thehangar had never been used. The gov-ernment had poured over $41 millioninto the Idaho ANP buildings and facili-ties through 1961. NASA put on holdits plans for a manned mission to Mars,so the Cavity Reactor and the otherspace-related reactors were shut downin the early 1970s. The vacant TANfacilities went up for rent, a testimonialthat the NRTS, no matter how brilliantits scientists and engineers, could notcontrol its destiny when the politicalwinds of Washington blew across theINEEL 71-3705 desert. 32Above. Gas-core nuclear rocket concept. Uranium- Eventually, we got into space electric235 gas is in the center like a bubble. Hydrogen power and worked on a thermionicflows around the uranium, heats up, and exits the reactor, in which the fuel elements werecore through a small opening, providing thrust. thermionic cells. The fuel gave off elec -trons to supply heat. Then Phillipsexperimented with the 710, a high-asked for some replacement research temperature reactor for rocket propul -that would keep the jobs in Idaho. 29 sion. The concept never went intooperation.At TAN, the Idaho Falls Post-Registerreported, employees were thunder- Later, we investigated another conceptstruck. One of them was Jay Kunze, for NASA rocket propulsion. This wasan ANP physicist and engineer. 30 for a manned mission to Mars. NASAhoped that a one-year mission to MarsThere were employee meetings, and theusing chemical fuel could be reduced toword got out immediately. I was three months on nuclear fuel. It was ashocked. I had started with GE in 1959cavity reactor, a sphere about twelveand had a new baby and a new house.inches in diameter. In the center wasNow I was out of a job! I was scared the fuel, uranium hexafluoride, whichstiff. But GE had a history of never lay above room temperature, is a gas.-ing off an engineer. The company kept Hydrogen would flow around the chainabout a hundred of us in Idaho.and reaction in the fuel, heat up to tempera -sent others to San Jose or GE facilitiestures up to 20,000 degrees F. and exitelsewhere. through a small nozzle, providingthrust.311 2 7'