When your goal is flying at hypersonic speeds, manufacturing methods need to keep up. In this episode, host Renette Youssef sits down with Ellen Malloy, Manager of Manufacturing Engineering at Hermeus, a startup with a mission to radically accelerate air travel.
Renette and Ellen discuss the cutting-edge technologies Hermeus is working with, and why it is important to stay razor sharp, and years ahead, on innovation. The pair dig into the high accountability, high output atmosphere Hermeus has built, and how fast iteration is paying dividends in learnings for the company.
Ellen also speaks about optimizing not only the factory space, but the entire team for success, and why mentorship and communication are integral.
Here’s a quick rundown of their conversation’s highlights.
Who is Ellen Malloy?
Ellen Malloy is the manufacturing engineering manager at Hermeus, a company focusing on hypersonic flight. With degrees from the University of Notre Dame and North Carolina State, plus stints at GE Power and ABL Space Systems. Today, she’s in Atlanta, busy melding traditional and next-gen manufacturing methods to help develop Hermeus’ aircraft.
How She Got Into Engineering
Despite having a family background in finance, Ellen was drawn to engineering thanks to her high school AP physics teacher, Rene Perry. Perry, a mechanical engineer turned educator, sparked Ellen’s interest in the field. This early guidance was instrumental for Ellen, affirming the crucial role mentors can play in shaping career paths.
Manufacturing at Hermeus
Hermeus is riding the wave of manufacturing innovation, balancing proven methods with exciting new techniques like robotic sheet forming, laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), and direct energy deposition. Ellen’s passionate about integrating these elements into the hypersonic vehicles Hermeus is building.
Robotic Sheet Forming
Ellen gave us a peek into the future with robotic sheet forming. It’s a high-tech process that shapes alloys into aircraft parts, and it could be a game-changer in aerospace manufacturing.
To stay on the cutting edge, Ellen cites a mix of personal curiosity and corporate strategy. Hermeus even has someone whose job it is to scout new technologies—talk about commitment to innovation!
Hypersonic Flight: Reality or Sci-Fi?
Ellen is bullish on hypersonic flight becoming a reality, sooner rather than later. Hermeus has a phased approach—from unmanned flights to commercial ones—to make this seemingly sci-fi dream come true.
The Race to Hypersonic Flight
Just like the space race, the hypersonic race is on. Ellen sees nations vying to be first in unlocking this technology, highlighting its global and strategic significance.
The Human Element
What about the physical effects of hypersonic flight? According to Ellen, once you’re cruising, it’ll be business as usual in the cabin. So, no need to worry about being squashed in your seat!
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