LEAF is short for Low-Energy Ablative Flyer, a high altitude balloon aircraft containing an experimental pulsed plasma thruster developed in the UW Earth and Space Sciences propulsion lab. This craft flew to 105,000 feet while the telemetry package streamed down data on the performance of the thruster. The experiment went very well with over 150 successful shots and a perfect recovery. This was launched from Moses Lake Airport in Eastern Washington and may be the world’s first plasma thruster operating in open air.
Also check out the rockoon we built on this team!