Dr. Mike Gruntman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Gruntman) is a professor of astronautics at the Viterbi School of Engineering of the University of Southern California (USC). He served as the founding chairman (2004-2007) of the Department of Astronautical Engineering at USC (http://astronauticsnow.com/aste.pdf) and chaired the department again from 2016-2019. This is a unique pure-space engineering (in contrast to common aerospace) department in U.S. universities. Its Master of Science program , founded and directed by Mike since the mid-1990s, awarded more than 800 degrees from 2004-2022 (http://astronauticsnow.com/msaste-update.pdf).
The life journey took Mike from a child growing up at the Tyuratam (Baikonur) launch base in the late 1950s and early 1960s to an accomplished physicist to the founding director of a major educational program in space engineering in the heart of the American space industry. Mike received his Ph.D. from the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1984. In the 1980s, he pioneered various experimental and instrumental concepts and techniques for imaging space plasmas in energetic neutral atoms (ENA). ENA imaging had matured by the mid-1990s, with ENA experiments flown and planned on numerous space missions. In March 1990, Mike succeeded in escaping from the socialist paradise of the Soviet Union, reached California with 80 dollars in his pocket to start a new life, and joined USC. (Ironically, he now witnesses from a front seat the march to dehumanizing socialism by academia and his home state.)
At USC Mike has been involved in numerous programs in space science and technology, supported by various government agencies and industry. His interests include astronautics, space physics, space mission and spacecraft design, rocketry and spacecraft propulsion, space instrumentation and sensors, solar system galactic frontier, heliospheric and magnetospheric physics, space environment, orbital debris, space education, and history of rocketry, space, and missile defense. Prof. Gruntman’s graduate course at USC on fundamentals of space systems is among the largest in the country, with more than 2200 students enrolled from 1995-2021.
Mike also offers short courses on space technology for government and industry. AIAA made the first 50-min lecture (on course organization and world space enterprise) of one of his short courses available for free (https://youtu.be/-_8-qGfXjEo). His educational space video clips scored more than one million views on YouTube.
Mike authored and co-authored more than 300 scholarly publications, including 6 books (http://astronauticsnow.com/books/). His AIAA published “Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry” received an award from the International Academy of Astronautics in 2006. This book and another AIAA-published book on the history of early missile defense are held in 750 and 450, respectively, libraries worldwide. In 2022, he published a book about his “previous life” in space science in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s and another book on the fundamentals of space missions (650+ problems with detailed solutions that were given, could have been given, or should have been given in his classes and courses). Mike’s website is http://astronauticsnow.com.