This is an Attitude Gas System rocket that provided attitude control to the Surveyor spacecraft from the time the spacecraft separated from its launch vehicle up until it was about 1,000 miles from the surface of the Moon.
There were six jets in all on the Surveyor. They used nitrogen gas and the thrust for each jet was 0.057 pounds, a tiny amount of impulse, but enough in the vacuum of space to shift the entire 2,204 pound spacecraft to the correct attitude to prepare it for landing. Surveyor spacecraft, launched during 1966-1968, were the U.S.'s first space probes to soft land on another heavenly body. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1979 by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration