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Mike Gruntman

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Mike Gruntman
Gruntman in 2019
Born1954 (1954) (age 70)
EducationMoscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Russian Space Research Institute

Mike Gruntman is a Russian-American physicist, space engineer, and author. He is professor of astronautics and aerospace engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (USC).[1]



Born in the USSR, Gruntman grew up as a child at the Soviet Tyuratam Missile Test Range, also known as Baikonur Cosmodrome, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.[citation needed] After graduating from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with a master's degree in physics, he went on to receive his Ph.D. (1984) in physics from the Space Research Institute (IKI ИКИ) of the USSR Academy of Sciences.[2] Gruntman came to IKI as a student in 1973 and then worked there from 1977 on as a research fellow.[3] From 1987 to 1990 he worked as a research fellow in the Institute for Problems in Mechanics (IPM) of the USSR Academy of Sciences.[4] In March 1990 he joined USC in Los Angeles, California as research scientist and became professor in 1993.[5][failed verification]

In IKI and IPM, Gruntman worked on position-sensitive detectors on the basis of the microchannel plates[6] and techniques for the detection of energetic neutral atoms (ENA imaging) in space.[7][8][9] Later he participated in ENA experiments on the NASA IMAGE,[10][11] TWINS[12] and IBEX[13] missions.

Gruntman's scholarly publications[14] span across astronautics, space mission and spacecraft design, rocketry and spacecraft propulsion, space instrumentation and sensors, solar system galactic frontier, heliospheric and magnetospheric physics, space plasmas and environment, orbital debris, particle and photon analyzers and detector systems, space education, and space and rocket history.[15][16][17]

Education and outreach


Gruntman has been advocating creation of pure space engineering academic units as an alternative to space degree programs in aerospace departments combining aeronautics and astronautics.[18][19][20] He served as the founding chairman, 2004–2007, of such an independent academic unit at USC, currently the Department of Astronautical Engineering.[21] He chairs the department again from 2016 to 2019.[22]

Gruntman also produces educational short videos on satellite orbits and related topics which has attracted more than a million viewers on YouTube.[23] He is a frequent guest speaker on The Space Show.[24]



Gruntman has authored two books on history of rocketry and space technology, published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry, published in 2004,[25] received the 2006 Luigi G. Napolitano Award from the International Academy of Astronautics.[22] Intercept 1961: The Birth of Soviet Missile Defense (2015)[26] covers the history of the Soviet air defense and missile defense.[27] He also published a book about pioneers of space Robert Esnault-Pelterie and Ary Sternfeld and the words astronautics and cosmonautics which they had respectively introduced in the language of science and engineering.[28]

Gruntman is also the author of "Enemy Amongst Trojans: A Soviet Spy at USC"[29] detailing a Soviet espionage operation in the United States when GRU officer Ignacy Witczak (Litvin) operated under a cover of a student and then instructor at the University of Southern California (USC) in the 1940s.[30][31]

List of books published

  • Gruntman, Mike (2004). Blazing the trail : the early history of spacecraft and rocketry. Reston, Va.: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. ISBN 978-1-60086-872-6. OCLC 774285730.
  • —— (2015). Intercept 1961 : the birth of Soviet missile defense. Reston, VA. ISBN 978-1-62410-350-6. OCLC 911134979.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • —— (2010). Enemy amongst Trojans : a Soviet spy at USC. Los Angeles: Figueroa Press. ISBN 978-1-932800-74-6. OCLC 690920515.
  • —— (2007). From astronautics to cosmonautics. North Charleston, S.C.: Booksurge. ISBN 978-1-4196-7085-5. OCLC 156950339.
  • —— (2022). My fifteen years at IKI, the Space Research Institute : position-sensitive detectors and energetic neutral atoms behind the Iron Curtain. Interstellar Trail Press. ISBN 979-8-9856687-0-4. OCLC 1310323554.
  • Gruntman, Mike (2022). Fundamentals of space missions : problems with solutions. Interstellar Trail Press. ISBN 979-8-9856687-4-2.

Honors and awards



  1. ^ a b c "USC Faculty Page MikeG".
  2. ^ Грунтман, Михаил Александрович – Обоснование и разработка методов детектирования потоков нейтральных частиц в межпланетном пространстве : диссертация ... кандидата физико-математических наук : 01.04.01 – Search RSL. search.rsl.ru (Thesis). 1983.
  3. ^ Gruntman, Mike; Stern, David Peter (2005). Oral history interview with Mike Gruntman. OCLC 881394327.
  4. ^ Gruntman, M. (2015). "Fifteen Years in IKI: Microchannel Plates, Position-Sensitive Detectors, and Energetic Neutral Atoms" (PDF). Obratnyi Otshchet 3 (Reverse Countdown...3. Fifty years of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) (in Russian). Moscow: Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. pp. 226–261. ISBN 978-5-9903101-3-1.
  5. ^ a b c "USC 50 years of Spaceflight" (Press release).
  6. ^ Gruntman, Mike (1984). "Position-sensitive detectors based on microchannel plates" (PDF). Instruments and Experimental Techniques. 27 (1): 1–19. ISSN 0020-4412.
  7. ^ Mike Gruntman (1997). "Energetic neutral atom imaging of space plasmas" (PDF). Review of Scientific Instruments. 68 (10): 3617–3656. Bibcode:1997RScI...68.3617G. doi:10.1063/1.1148389. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  8. ^ Gruntman, M. A., Roelof, E. C., Mitchell, D. G., Fahr, H.-J., Funsten, H. O., and McComas, D. J., “Energetic Neutral Atom Imaging of the Heliospheric Boundary Region,” J. Geophys. Res.106(A8), 15,767–15,758 (2001).
  9. ^ Brandt, P.C.; Mitchell, D.G.; Roelof, E.C.; Krimigis, S.M.; Paranicas, C.P.; Mauk, B.H.; Saur, J.; DeMajistre, R. (2005). "ENA Imaging: Seeing the Invisible" (PDF). Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest. 26 (2): 143–155. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  10. ^ Pollock, C.J.; Asamura, K.; Baldonado, J.; Balkey, M.M.; Barker, P.; Burch, J.L.; Korpela, E.J.; Cravens, J.; Dirks, G.; Fok, M.-C.; Funsten, H.O.; Grande, M.; Gruntman, M.; Hanley, J.; Jahn, J.-M.; Jenkins, M.; Lampton, M.; Marckwordt, M.; McComas, D.J.; Mukai, T.; Penegor, G.; Pope, S.; Ritzau, S.; Schattenburg, M.L.; Scime, E.; Skoug, R.; Spurgeon, W.; Stecklein, T.; Storms, S.; Urdiales, C.; Valek, P.; van Beek, J.T.M.; Weidner, S.E.; Wüest, M.; Young, M.K.; Zinsmeyer, C. (2000). "Medium energy neutral atom (MENA) imager for the IMAGE mission". Space Science Reviews. 91 (1/2): 113–154. Bibcode:2000SSRv...91..113P. doi:10.1023/A:1005259324933. S2CID 16341054.
  11. ^ Pollock, C. J.; Asamura, K.; Balkey, M. M.; Burch, J. L.; Funsten, H. O.; Grande, M.; Gruntman, M.; Henderson, M.; Jahn, J.-M.; Lampton, M.; Liemohn, M. W.; McComas, D. J.; Mukai, T.; Ritzau, S.; Schattenburg, M. L.; Scime, E.; Skoug, R.; Valek, P.; Wüest, M. (15 March 2001). "First medium energy neutral atom (MENA) Images of Earth's magnetosphere during substorm and storm-time". Geophysical Research Letters. 28 (6): 1147–1150. Bibcode:2001GeoRL..28.1147P. doi:10.1029/2000GL012641. S2CID 1604349.
  12. ^ "NASA TWINS Team".
  13. ^ "IBEX Team and Impact".
  14. ^ "Mike Gruntman".
  15. ^ "Profile: Mike Gruntman". ResearchGate.
  16. ^ "Mike Gruntman - Academia.edu".
  17. ^ "ORCID".
  18. ^ Gruntman, Mike (2007). "The Time for Academic Departments in Astronautical Engineering". AIAA SPACE 2007 Conference & Exposition. doi:10.2514/6.2007-6042. ISBN 978-1-62410-016-1.
  19. ^ Gruntman, Mike (October 2014). "Advanced degrees in astronautical engineering for the space industry". Acta Astronautica. 103: 92–105. Bibcode:2014AcAau.103...92G. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.06.016.
  20. ^ Gruntman, Mike (2018). "Master of Science Degree in Astronautical Engineering Through Distance Learning" (PDF). International Astronautical Congress. IAC-18-E1-4-11. Bremen Germany.
  21. ^ "USC Viterbi | Department of Astronautical Engineering". USC Viterbi | Department of Astronautical Engineering.
  22. ^ a b "USC Press Room-Mike Gruntman" (Press release).
  23. ^ "Astronauticsnow Mike Gruntman's Youtube Channel". YouTube.
  24. ^ "Dr. Mike Gruntman | the Space Show".
  25. ^ Gruntman, Mike (2004). Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry. Reston, VA: AIAA. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-56347-705-8.
  26. ^ "New Book Focuses on Birth of Soviet Union's Air and Missile Defense Systems : The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics". www.aiaa.org.
  27. ^ "Intercept 1961 was featured on Secure Freedom Radio, center for security policy 2015". center for security policy. 2015-10-06.
  28. ^ From astronautics to cosmonautics. Booksurge. 2007. ISBN 978-1-4196-7085-5.
  29. ^ Gruntman, Mike (2010). Enemy amongst Trojans : a Soviet spy at USC. Figueroa Press. ISBN 978-1-932800-74-6.
  30. ^ Gruntman, M. (Dec 2015). "Studies in Intelligence" (PDF). Journal of the American Intelligence Professional (Declassified). 59 (5): 74. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016.
  31. ^ "Enemy Amongst Trojans: Telling the story of a USC instructor—and Soviet spy" (PDF). USC Viterbi Engineer Spring 2011. USC. 2011. p. 13.
  32. ^ Gruntman, M. "AIP citation". aip.scitation.org.