National Nuclear Security Administration

Joint NNSA/NASA team honored with Gears of Government Award

July 9, 2019

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From left, NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Marc Gibson of NASA, Angela Chambers of NNSA, Lee Mason of NASA, Margaret Weichert of OMB. Not pictured: William Pulse of NNSA.
From left, NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Marc Gibson of NASA, Angela Chambers of NNSA, Lee Mason of NASA, Margaret Weichert of OMB. Not pictured: William Pulse of NNSA.
NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty speaks at the ceremony honoring the Gears of Government President’s Award winners.
NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty speaks at the ceremony honoring the Gears of Government President’s Award winners.

NNSA employees Angela Chambers of the Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations and William Pulse of the Nevada Field Office, working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employees Marc Gibson and Lee Mason, were recently honored with the highest level of the Gears of Government Award. This prestigious prize honors federal employees and teams who support exceptional mission results, customer service, and accountability.

The team’s project, called KRUSTY (for Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling TechnologY), is aimed toward enabling long-term stays on the surfaces of other worlds. KRUSTY is a prototype fission thermal energy reactor coupled to a Stirling engine powered electric generator, which is efficient, doesn’t require significant maintenance, and does not degrade in performance over time. The successful project developed, tested, and demonstrated the KRUSTY fuel source technology, which will ensure that astronauts have enough long-term electrical power for missions to the Moon or Mars.

The KRUSTY team’s work was conducted at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), and had the support of scientists from NNSS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex.

The Gears of Government President’s Award Winners were honored in a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty spoke at the event. “I think KRUSTY’s leveraging of the expertise and resources of both NNSA and NASA is noteworthy in itself,” she said. “No understanding as large as aiding in the exploration of the solar system happens without partnerships like these, and the innovative spirit in both our organizations is self-evident in this project.”

“The very nature of what KRUSTY’s work encompasses, and what it could enable in the long term, is the stuff of humanity’s greatest aspirations,” added Deputy Secretary Brouillette. “What Angela, Bill, Lee, and Marc have achieved is not only a great accomplishment for their agencies and their Nation, but it is also a potential milestone in the story of mankind and its place in the broader universe.”

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