In October 2010, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and White Sands Test Facility worked with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to successfully complete a series of thruster tests that will aid in maneuvering and landing the next generation of robotic lunar landers that could be used to explore the moon's surface and other airless celestial bodies. The test results will allow the Robotic Lander Project to move forward with robotic lander designs using advanced propulsion technology.
In this image, the Divert Attitude Control System thruster fired under vacuum conditions to simulate operation in a space environment. The tests mimicked the lander mission profile and operation scenarios.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC