Mike Gruntman

Mike Gruntman

Professor of Astronautics

Professor of Aerospace 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 engineering education and program status and success:

The Time for Academic Departments in Astronautical Engineering, AIAA-2207-6042

Advanced degrees in astronautical engineering for the space industry, Acta Astronautica, 2014

Master of Science Degree in Astronautical Engineering Through Distance Learning, IAC-18-E1.4.11, 2018

mike gruntman book author ss-18

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

Mike on   ResearchGateGoogle ScholarLoopAcademiaORCID

Mike's short courses     Web site at USC

         AmazonThe Space Show Secure Freedom Radio

OnLinkedInFacebookYouTube    in Wikipedia      Mike's LinkedIn articles

Mike's Publication List

Sputnik    Explorer    Vanguard    Astronautics    Missile defense    Baikonur Tyuratam    Saryshagan    Rocket equation    Rocket espionage    U-2

From firecrackers to interstellar flight

socks for Yuri Gagarin

North Korea satellite launch

ISS hole and leak

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)

Hole and leak at the International Space Station, August 2018
9 min 8 sec

Fields of interest and expertise USC Astronautics Alumni on LinkedIn

aiaa apl colloquium 2022
APL Colloquium - AIAA Dsitinguished Speaker Lecture, 2022

Intercept 1961: From Air Defense SA-1 to the Birth of Soviet Missile Defense (video, 1 h 01 min)

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


more than 300 scholarly publications, including 6 books

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


Mike Gruntman,
   My Fifteen Years at IKI, the Space Research Institute:
  Position-Sensitive Detectors and Energetic Neutral Atoms Behind the Iron Curtain,
  Interstellar Trail Press, 2022

book web site       (pdf info)       ISBN 979-8-9856687-0-4.

About Mike's life in MFTI and IKI (in Russian)

mike gruntman

Academic Programs

Founder (1994–1995), USC Astronautics Program

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

Department chairman again from 2016-2019.

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;
 space engineering for national security space, commercial space, space exploration, government, and industry

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)

space pioneer Ary SternfeldSpace Pioneer Ary Sternfeld (25 min)


Mike's ASTE-520 Spacecraft Design  and  ASTE-575 Rocket and Spacecraft Propulsion .     Short courses for industry and government

aste 520 spacecraft design    aste 575 rocket and spacecraft propulsion

ASTE-520 Spacecraft Design is among largest graduate courses on space systems in the United States, with more than 2200 students enrolled in the course since 1994

160+ problems with detailed solutions

that were given, could have been given,

or should have been given in ASTE-520

Fundamentals of Space Missions

Magnitudes of stars and satellites. The solar system. Coordinate systems and time. Plane and solid angles. Space environment and spacecraft interactions. Satellite atmospheric drag. Solar radiation pressure. Gravitational field. The Earth. Basics of orbital mechanics. Orbital elements, transfers, and maneuvers. Orbit evolution and common orbits. Space mission geometry.

Fundamentals of Space Missions

Fundamentals of Space Missions

Fundamentals of Space Missions – 3-page info (pdf) – list of problems

Open Skies for National Security
open skies for national security

Mike's videos

videos by mike gruntman   Mike'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.

list 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,
including in friendly countries


Recommended science and engineering books on astronautics, rocketry, and space technology


Recommended missile defense books


Recommended books on history of astronautics, rocketry, and space


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)


Certificate of Appreciation, Los Angeles - Las Vegas Section, AIAA, 2020

Citation, Long Island Section, AIAA, 2020

Distinguished Educator Award, Orange County Engineering Council, 2017

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; 2020 – 2022
Member (elected)
Engineering Faculty Council, USC

2018 – now
Distinguished Speaker (Lecturer), AIAA

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)

rocket equation coffee mug for rocket scientists rocket equation mousepad for rocket scientists rocket equation T-shirt for rocket scientists missile defense baikonur launch site tyuratam missile range mouse pad baikonur launch site tyuratam missile range coffee mug yes-to-engineering sticker for rocket scientists

other rocket science items

How to reach Mike Gruntman

Department of Astronautical Engineering
Viterbi School of Engineering, MC–1451

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1451

Tel. 213–740–5536

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