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
USC Astronautics and Space Technology Division,
reorganized into Department of Astronautical Engineering in 2010.

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

books by mike gruntman Mike's books

videos by mike gruntman Mike's videos on satellite orbits

Mike's short courses

Mike's Web site at USC
Mike's bio on Amazon

Mike's Publication List


Sputnik 1         Explorer 1        Vanguard 1   

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

socks for Yuri GagarinSocks for the First Cosmonaut of Planet Earth

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

Road to spaceLecture   –  1 hr 10 min
The Road to Space. The First Thousand Years.

Fifty 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. 

rotation of apsidesVideo clips  –  Space Mission Design and Satellite OrbitsGPS constellation

Effects of interest to space mission design and to spacecraft design.

Mike's Books

Blazing the Trail by Mike GruntmanIn 2006, Mike's Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry
(published by AIAA in 2004) received the Luigi Napolitano Award
from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)

Book preview   

From Astronautics to Cosmonautics, 2007

From Astronautics to Cosmonautics by Mike Gruntman Book preview

The New SMAD - Chapter 1.2
The History of Spaceflight

Enemy amongst Trojans by Mike GruntmanEnemy Amongst Trojans. A Soviet Spy at USC

Mike's book about a spy hiding at the University of Southern California

Mike Gruntman, Intercept 1961. The Birth of Soviet Missile Defense, AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), Reston, Va., 2015.


Now it can be told - USC Astronatics alumni The true story ...
Now it can be told

Current Space Missions

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

TWINS, NASA – Mission Co-Investigator


more than 200
selected publications

Mike Gruntman and bungee jumping from a hot air balloonJournals

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


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

M.Sc. (experimental physics), 1977
Department of Aerophysics and Space Research, Moscow Physical-Technical Institute

Specialized training, 1974–1976, liquid propellant rocket engines

Mike GruntmanAcademic 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)

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

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 1250 students enrolled in the course during the last 12 years from 2003-2014; and nearly 1600 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)
Corresponding Member, 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

2009 – 2011
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, ...

How to reach Mike Gruntman

Department of Astronautical Engineering
Viterbi School of Engineering

854 Downey Way, RRB–224, MC–1192
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1192

Tel. 213–740–5536

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