This week, Rocketdyne completed a series of tests on their launch abort system for Boeing's future space capsule, which would power it clear in the event of a primary rocket failure. And if you like watching rocket engine test firings, we've got some tasty video for you.
The Bantam engine produces over 52,000 pounds of thrust, which is used to blast a space capsule away from its launching rocket in the event of an emergency. The Apollo capsules had the same kind of system except as a "puller" rocket mounted at the top of the capsule; you can see it in action in this video. If the capsule makes it to orbit without having to undergo an abort procedure, the abort engine propellant can then be used for other things, like boosting stations to higher orbits.
Here's the Bantam test firing:
The capsule that this engine is going to be bolted to is Boeing's CST-100, which they're designing in partnership with Bigelow Aerospace:
The CST-100 would be able to boost up to seven people to low Earth orbit, which means the ISS or other, private space stations like the ones Bigelow has in mind.