Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) have begun a series of engine tests on a new breed of space propulsion: a Reaction Control Engine developed for the Space Launch Initiative (SLI). The engine, developed by TRW Space and Electronics of Redondo Beach, California, is an auxiliary propulsion engine designed to maneuver vehicles in orbit. It is used for docking, reentry, attitude control, and fine-pointing while the vehicle is in orbit. The engine uses nontoxic chemicals as propellants, a feature that creates a safer environment for ground operators, lowers cost, and increases efficiency with less maintenance and quicker turnaround time between missions. Testing includes 30 hot-firings. This photograph shows the first engine test performed at MSFC that includes SLI technology. Another unique feature of the Reaction Control Engine is that it operates at dual thrust modes, combining two engine functions into one engine. The engine operates at both 25 and 1,000 pounds of force, reducing overall propulsion weight and allowing vehicles to easily maneuver in space. The low-level thrust of 25 pounds of force allows the vehicle to fine-point maneuver and dock while the high-level thrust of 1,000 pounds of force is used for reentry, orbit transfer, and coarse positioning. SLI is a NASA-wide research and development program, managed by the MSFC, designed to improve safety, reliability, and cost effectiveness of space travel for second generation reusable launch vehicles.