Mike Gruntman

Mike Gruntman

Professor of Astronautics

Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Professor of Systems Architecture Engineering

Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Southern California

Founder of the USC Astronautics Program

First (Founding) Chairman, 2004–2007; Chairman, 2016–2019

Department of Astronautical Engineering

Mike's call for changes in space education:

The Time for Academic Departments in Astronautical Engineering, AIAA-2207-6042 (as pdf)

Mike's article (pdf) in Acta Astronautica, 2014 on the program success and current state

books by mike gruntman Mike's books     videos by mike gruntman Mike's videos on satellite orbits

Mike's short courses    web site at USC    Mike's bio on Amazon    Mike's Publication List

rocket equation coffee mug for rocket scientists rocket equation mousepad for rocket scientists rocket equation T-shirt for rocket scientists baikonur launch site tyuratam missile range coffee mug missile defense coffe mug yes-to-engineering sticker for rocket scientists  –  other rocket science stuff

Sputnik    Explorer    Vanguard    Astronautics    Missile defense    Baikonur Tyuratam    Rocket equation

From firecrackers to interstellar flight

socks for Yuri Gagarin

North Korea satellite launch

Road to space

Space: From Firecrackers to Interstellar Flight
Part 1. The First Thousand Years. (87 min)
Part 2.  Space in 21st Century. (84 min)

Socks for the First Cosmonaut of Planet Earth

Analysis of satellite launch by North Korea in December 2012 and ballistic missile threat
(video, 18 min)

The Road to Space. The First Thousand Years.
Almost 60 years ago in October of 1957, the first artificial satellite of the Earth was launched into space. The lecture focuses on the history of the events that led us to the space age.
1 hr 10 min

Selected scholarly publications

Fields of interest and expertise

Mike Gruntman and bungee jumping from a hot air balloon Journals

Current Space Missions

Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), NASA – Mission Co-Investigator

TWINS, NASA – Mission Co-Investigator


nearly 300 scholarly publications,
including 4 books, 90+ journal articles and book chapters,
and more than 50 conference proceedings papers

selected publications

Member (2001–2003), Editorial Board, Review of Scientific Instruments
Member (2005– 2013), Editorial Board, Astrophysics and Space Sciences Transactions (ASTRA)


Ph.D. (physics), 1984
Space Research Institute (IKI), The USSR Academy of Sciences

M.Sc. (physics), 1977
Faculty (School) of Aerophysics and Space Research (FAKI), Moscow Physical-Technical Institute (MFTI)

Specialized training, 1974–1976, liquid propellant rocket engines

About Mike's life in MFTI and IKI

Mike Gruntman Academic programs

Founder (1994–1995), USC Astronautics Program

First (Founding) Chairman (2004–2007), Astronautics and Space Technology Division (transitioned in 2010 into  Department of Astronautical Engineering), USC Viterbi School of Engineering
(history of USC space engineering program)

Director (2004-now), Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering (MS ASTE), among largest in the United States

Developed a comprehensive academic program that offers Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science – Minor, Master of Science, Engineer, and PhD degrees and Graduate Certificate in Astronautical Engineering

Astronautics Program focus:
engineers for Space Industry and Government (NASA, Air Force, Navy, Army, DoD, IC, DOE, ...) Research and Development Centers

USC Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering: Overview (video; 53 min)

Distance Learning:
Master of Science degree and Graduate Certificate reach students across the United States and abroad through classes webcast by USC/VSOE Distance Education Network (DEN)

The Time for Academic Departments in Astronautical Engineering, AIAA-2207-6042
Advanced degrees in astronautical engineering for the space industry, Acta Astronautica, 2014

space pioneer Ary SternfeldSpace Pioneer Ary Sternfeld (25 min)


aste 520 spacecraft designMike's ASTE520 Spacecraft Design is among most popular graduate courses on space systems in the United States, with about about 1260 students enrolled in the course during the last 12 years from 2004-2015; and more than 1660 students had taken the course since 1996

videos by mike gruntmanMike's videos

Popular instructional videos on space mission design and orbital mechanics, space and rocket history, and other space related topics, with hundreds of thousands of views during recent years. The total number of views of all Mike's videos approaches one million.

lis of videos on satellite orbits List of videos as pdf

First USC student micro-satellite

initiated and led the first USC student microsatellite program, 1995–1998

Educational and outreach web site

developed (in 1996) and maintains a professional/educational web site on Astronautics and Spacecraft Design

500,000+ hits;
highlighted in Physics Today;
recognized as the "space site of the week" by SpaceViews (a major aerospace electronic publication)

American Institute of Aeronatics and Astronautics AIAA -- history

Short courses

Popular short courses on space systems for industry and government


Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Member (Academician), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
Member, American Physical Society (APS)
Member, American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Member, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)


NASA Group Achievement Award, 2011

Luigi Napolitano Award, International Academy of Astronautics, 2006

NASA Group Achievement Award, 2001  

NASA Group Achievement Award, 2000

Exceptional Service Award, 1999
USC School of Engineering

Certificate, 1998
Los Angeles Section, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Outstanding Teaching Award, 1997
USC School of Engineering

Certificate of Appreciation, 1997
Los Angeles Section,
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Selected service to the academic community

2008 – 2012; 2014 – 2016
Member (elected)
Engineering Faculty Council, USC

Member of the Editorial Board
Review of Scientific Instruments

Sun-Earth Connection Roadmap Team
Office of Space Science, NASA

Interstellar Probe Science and Technology Definition Team
Office of Space Science, NASA

1999 – 2004
Member, Science and Technical Advisory Panel
Air and Space Gallery, California Science Center

1998 – 2000
Member (elected)
Engineering Faculty Council, USC

1996 – 1998
Member (elected)
Engineering Faculty Council, USC

1997 – 1998
Vice Chair, Education (elected)
Los Angeles Section
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

1996 – 1997
Vice Chair, Education (elected)
Los Angeles Section
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

1993 – now
various committees
Viterbi School of Engineering, USC (distance learning, curriculum, etc.)

1991 – now
Proposal Reviewer
Science Mission Directorate (former Office of Space Science), NASA;
other government organizations

1990 – now
Service on advisory/review panels of government agencies (NASA HQ; NASA centers; DOE, ...)
Reviewer for scientific book publishers
Reviewer for numerous scientific journals, book publishers, and government agencies
Review of Scientific Instruments, Remote Sensing Reviews, Optical Engineering, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Review Letters, Solar Physics, various conference proceedings, ...

Numerous other professional activities (government, industry, academia, public)

How to reach Mike Gruntman

Department of Astronautical Engineering
Viterbi School of Engineering

854 Downey Way, RRB–226, MC–1192
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1192

Tel. 213–740–5536

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