Laser Focused Episode 8 – Shattering Rocket Performance Barriers & Glass Ceilings

by | July 19, 2022 | Podcast

Welcome back to episode eight of the Laser Focused podcast, where this week I’m joined by aerospace engineer, Daniella Sladen.

Daniella is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Zulu Pods—a startup focused on improving jet engine lubrication systems for advanced rocket engines.

Based in Miami, Florida, Zulu Pods was co-founded by Daniella and her husband and has the unique distinction of being a Latinx women-owned aerospace technology company.

On this week’s episode, I ask Daniella about her inspiring journey to becoming an engineer and entrepreneur. She shares her personal experience as one of the few women in her field, talks openly about her experience working in an industry that is often difficult for working mothers and women of color to navigate, and talks about Zulu Pods’ commitment to building a company culture designed to help people, particularly women, thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Daniella and I also discuss a wide range of technical topics, including rocket propulsion, one of the most exciting and challenging fields in engineering today, and what challengers she and her company have encountered on it quest to deliver the next breakthrough in rocket engine lubrication system development.

We also dig into Zulu Pod’s focus on simple solutions to complex aerospace problems, specifically the company’s ZPod technology, and how it delivers better cost, weight, and performance benefits when compared to traditional lubrication systems.

Listen to a snippet:


During the interview, Daniella explains how the ZPod is the world’s first self-contained, sealed oil tank and pump and how it uses a combination of engine physics and centrifugal force to improve engine performance by reducing friction, reducing heat, and improving cooling.

We also discuss the impact of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, on rocket engine development, and Daniella reveals how Zulu Pods is using AM in innovative ways to improve efficiency and reduce weight on advanced expendable rockets. She also touches on ZPod’s wide range of applications across industries including defense and aerospace.

So, please join me for another episode as I uncover the latest innovation and inspiration with leaders who are changing the world.  If you enjoy the episode, please rate, review, and share with a friend or colleague! And if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure you do now so you never miss an episode of Laser Focused!

Laser Focused can be found on all the major streaming apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. Learn more about Laser Focused by visiting

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About the Author

Renette Youssef

Chief Marketing Officer

Renette Youssef is the Chief Marketing Officer at Velo3D and joined in October 2020. She is responsible for all aspects of Velo3D's marketing efforts including strategy, customer communication, demand generation, product marketing and corporate communication. Renette has managed marketing organizations in Australia, Europe, and Silicon Valley.