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Nikolaos Perakis

Aerospace Engineer & Physicist



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Based in:

Munich, Germany


January 2017 - July 2021

January 2019 - August 2020

October 2014 - September 2016

October 2014 - September 2015

October 2011 - April 2014

PhD in Aerospace Engineering (summa cum laude)

Technical University of Munich - Department of Space Propulsion - Prof. Oskar Haidn

Experimental measurement and numerical modeling of combustion and heat transfer processes in rocket engines. Main focus placed on the sustainable propellant combination methane/oxygen.

  • Inverse methods for the experimental evaluation of wall heat flux profiles

  • Uncertainty quantification of experimental methods

  • Combustion model development for methane/oxygen combustion

  • Turbulent combustion simulations using CFD for prediction of performance and wall heat loads

  • RANS, LES and DNS of systems ranging from canonical configurations to full-scale assemblies

Link to PhD thesis

Visiting Graduate Student Researcher

Stanford University - Center for Turbulence Research - Prof. Matthias Ihme

Research in the field of turbulent combustion modelling that resulted in the publication of 5 journal papers and a conference paper

  • Pareto-Efficient Combustion (PEC) models for rocket engine applications

  • Data-assisted combustion simulations with dynamic submodel assignment 

  • DNS of reacting flows and wall/flame interaction

  • Simulation of carbon oxidation in turbulent premixed jet flames: comparison of ethylene, n-heptane and toluene

  • Correction of laser tomography measurement bias using reacting LES flow-fields

  • Modeling and simulation of laser ignition in rocket combustors

M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering (grade: 1.1 - high distinction)

Technical University of Munich

  • Focus on space propulsion, thermo-fluid dynamics, space systems, orbital mechanics, nuclear engineering

  • Thesis at Airbus Safran Launchers on the topic of "Flamelet modeling and simulation of methane/oxygen rocket thrust chambers" - awarded with the SEW Eurodrive prize for best thesis
    Link to M.Sc. thesis

  • Term project at the Department of Space Propulsion on "Spray combustion simulations of single-element LOX/GH2 rocket combustors"
    Link to term project

B.Sc. in Physics (grade: 1.5 - distinction)

Technical University of Munich

B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering (grade: 1.4 - distinction)

Technical University of Munich

  • Focus: Spacecraft design, orbital mechanics, thermodynamics

  • Thesis at the Department of Space Propulsion on the "Inverse heat transfer problem in rocket combustion chambers"

Work Experience

February 2022 - now

July 2020 - February 2022

January 2014 - January 2021

April 2016 - October 2016

November 2014 - April 2016

March 2015 - July 2015

May 2014 - October 2014

December 2011 - May 2014

Lead Engineer Combustion

Isar Aerospace Technologies GmbH 

Managing a team of propulsion engineers responsible for the design, development and testing of the combustion devices (thrust chamber assembly, gas generator) for the Aquila liquid rocket engine.

Technical Responsible - Upper stage engine

Isar Aerospace Technologies GmbH 

Responsible for the design, manufacturing and testing of the Aquila Vacuum engine for the upper stage of the expendable Spectrum launch vehicle

Researcher in Mission Design (part-time)

Initiative & Institute for Interstellar Studies (i4is)

Research in the field of interplanetary/interstellar mission design and sail-based propulsion systems

  • Project Lyra (mission design to the first interstellar asteroid)

  • Mission design with magnetic sails

  • Andromeda probe (gram-scale interstellar probe)

  • Project Glowworm (in-space demonstration of laser-sail propulsion)

  • Project Dragonfly (feasibility study for laser-sail propelled interstellar probes)

Master Thesis in Combustion Modeling

Airbus Safran Launchers
Combustion modeling and simulation of methane/oxygen rocket thrust chambers

  • Development and implementation of a flamelet model for hydrocarbon combustion

  • Simulation of the turbulent combustion in a gas/gas and liquid/gas multi-element rocket engine demonstrators

Student Researcher in Rocket Propulsion

Technical University of Munich - Department of Space Propulsion - Prof. Oskar Haidn

  • Assistance in performing hot-fire tests with single-element and multi-element combustors

  • Data evaluation of methane/oxygen & hydrogen/oxygen rocket combustor hot-fire tests

  • Design of mechnical components and test bench modifications

Bachelor Thesis in Plasma Physics

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics

Research in magnetic nozzles for fusion propulsion systems

  • Simulation of single-fluid plasma expansion and flow within a magnetic nozzle using Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

  • Evaluation of plasma interaction with external magnetic field and the resulting thrust

Research Internship in Rocket Propulsion

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Research in rocket propulsion using green propellants

  • Work on nitrous-oxide (N2O) and ethylene (C2H4) as pre-mixed "monopropellant" for in-space propulsion applications

  • Assistance in test bench modifications

  • Assistance in performing hot-fire tests

  • Data evaluation of hot-fire tests

  • Numerical simulation of heat transfer and combustion 

Student Researcher in Satellite Technology

Scientific Workgroup for Rocketry and Spaceflight (WARR)

Attitude Determination and Control Team (ADCS) for the MOVE-II Cubesat

  • Choice of orbit given the requirements for the scientific objectives

  • Orbital propagation algorithms based on simplified perturbation models (SGP)

  • Simulation of magnetic coils for the attitude control using different control algorithms


January 2017 - December 2020

May 2018 - June 2018

November 2013 - March 2015

Teaching Assistant

Technical University of Munich - Department of Aerospace and Geodesy

  • "Space Propulsion 1" and "Space Propulsion 2" for Master's students 

  • Awarded the "Goldene Lehre" prize by the faculty for my lectures in "Space Propulsion 1" in the winter term 2019/2020

Guest Lecturer

The University of Tokyo -  Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Lecture series on "Modeling and simulation of rocket engines"

Student Teaching Assistant

Technical University of Munich - Chair of Thermodynamics

Tutor for the undergraduate course "Engineering Thermodynamics 1"


November 2020

January 2019

July 2018

January 2017

November 2012

October 2011

July 2011

TUM Aerospace and Geodesy Teaching Award

Technical University of Munich - Department of Aerospace and Geodesy

  • "Goldene Lehre" prize for excellence in teaching

  • Awarded for my lectures in "Space Propulsion 1" in the winter term 2019/2020

DAAD short-term PhD scholarship

German Academic Exchange Service

The scholarship was awarded to support my research visit at Stanford University in 2019.

Aerospace travel award

Aerospace Open Access Journals

Award for the presentations “Heat transfer and combustion simulation of a 7-element GOX/ GCH4 rocket combustor” and “Qualitative and quantitative comparison of RANS simulation results for a 7-element GOX/GCH4 rocket combustor” at the 54th AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


SEW Eurodrive

Prize awarded for the Master's thesis "Flamelet modeling and simulation of CH4/O2 rocket thrust chambers"

Bronze medal 

The University Physics Olympiad

Participated in a two-day physics competition and was awarded a bronze medal for my analysis on the effect that table tennis ball sizes have on the game.


German Academic Exchange Service

Full scholarship awarded to complete my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at the Technical University of Munich

Bronze medal

International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

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