Sesha N. C. Govindan

Successful PhD Defense of Sesha Govindan

Sesha N.C. Govindan has been a member of the research group "Multiphase Flows" at ZARM since 2019. On 24th June 2024, he successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Investigation of interface stability during the filling of liquid into a tank under reduced gravity". His research focuses on the possibility of having a propellant depot in space and understanding the fluid mechanics related to the orbital refueling of spacecraft tanks.   

Up to now, there have been natural limits to space exploration – and one of these is the fuel supply. If you want to send a fully fueled spacecraft into space, the rocket launch alone consumes an incredible amount of fuel, depending on the weight of the payload. An alternative would be to launch the spacecraft empty with a carrier rocket for space exploration and only refuel it in space.

In his research, Sesha Govindan investigated the behavior of liquids and the conditions for a stable filling of a scaled model of a spacecraft tank under reduced gravity conditions, both computationally as well as experimentally with various test setups in different weightlessness laboratories. A series of experiments in the Bremen Drop Tower were an important basis for his doctoral thesis. His work highlights some of the phenomena that would occur during the orbital refueling of spacecraft tanks.

Sesha Govindan: “At ZARM, I learned about microgravity and the way fluids behave under microgravity conditions. I got introduced to the field of experiments and realized how numerical simulations may differ from real experiments. I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to personally experience weightlessness and perform experiments on a parabolic flight aircraft during the 39th DLR parabolic flight campaign in 2022. ZARM opened the door to space for me.”

Congratulations on successfully completing your doctorate!