Broadcast 1458 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

13 Nov 2010 Dr. Mike Gruntman
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Guest: Dr. Mike Gruntman. Topics: USC Department of Astronautics and a Soviet spy at USC pre and during WWII. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, You can also obtain all of Dr. Gruntman's book, including "Enemy Amongst Trojans" from the One Giant Leap Foundation Amazon partners book page. Remember, if you buy his books or any books from this site, Amazon makes a contribution to The Space Show. Please visit In addition, please visit these sites for more information about Dr. Gruntman, his work, and the USC Department of Astronautics:; and his highly-popular space mission educational videos In our first segment, Dr. Gruntman explained the reorganization that was recently completed at USC regarding aerospace engineering and the forming of a completely new department focusing on space engineering, the Department of Astronautical Engineering. Mike explained why this was necessary, the results so far, and what this has meant for aerospace engineering students at USC and around the country. We talked about STEM education and aerospace engineering at the college level in general. He explained the USC Distance Learning program and how growth in that program and its rising importance serves an important part of the professional community. In our second segment, Dr. Gruntman talked about his new book, "Enemy Amongst Trojans: A Soviet Spy at USC." There is a remote connection to space with this story because Mike stumbled on it by accident when doing research on the possibility of Soviet ballistic missile espionage in the 40's similar to the espionage that went on in the atomic program. While Mike could not verify the existence of ballistic missile espionage with the former Soviet Union, he did discover the story about the former USC student Ignacy Samuel Witczak who mysteriously disappeared from a Southern California beach in 1945 only to show up later in the Soviet Union as Col. Zalman V. Litvin. The story that Mike tells in his book and on this show was made possible because recently several important documents were declassified in the U.S., Russia, and the UK. For the balance of our program, Mike Gruntman tells the story of this spy and his work, his return to the Soviet Union and then his fall from grace from his Mother Country as the country pursued abusive anti-Semitic policies. This is a fascinating story that you will want to hear. Mike tells how this spy and his family came from Canada using stolen passports from volunteers that went to Spain to fight against General Franco. In discussing this story, listeners asked Dr. Gruntman several questions about life in the former Soviet Union and now. Remember, from earlier appearances on The Space Show, Dr. Gruntman actually escaped from behind the Iron Curtain to America when it was still the Soviet Union so he knows of which he speaks - first hand. Later in our discussion, Mike was asked several questions about Communism, Socialism, and Marxism and could such systems be managed today without the killing and human rights violations associated with them. You do not want to miss what he had to say about this and what these systems do to the spirit and free will of individuals. We also talked about specific Soviet rocket programs and their heritage in the context of possible missile espionage in the early years. If you have a question or comment for Dr. Mike Gruntman, please post it on the blog URL above. You can also send him an email using



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