Dr. Mike Gruntman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Gruntman) is professor of astronautics at the Viterbi School of Engineering of the University of Southern California (USC). He served as the founding chairman (2004-2007) of the Department of Astronautical Engineering at USC (http://astronauticsnow.com/aste.pdf) is again the department chairman for 2016-2019. The life journey took Mike from a child growing at the Tyuratam (Baikonur) launch base in the late 1950s and early 1960s to an accomplished physicist to the founding director of a major educational program in space engineering in the heart of the American space industry. Mike received his Ph.D. from the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1984. In 1980s, he pioneered various instrumental techniques for imaging of space plasmas in energetic neutral atoms (ENA). ENA imaging had matured by mid-1990s, with ENA experiments flown or planned in a number of space missions (IMAGE, Cassini, TWINS, IBEX, IMAP, Astrid, Beppi Colombo, Venus Express, Chandrayaan-1). In March 1990, Mike succeeded in escaping from the socialist paradise of the Soviet Union, reached California with 80 dollars in his pocket to start a new life, and joined USC. (Ironically, he now witnesses from a front seat the march to dehumanizing socialism by academia and his home state.)
At USC Mike has been involved in various programs in space science and technology. His interests include astronautics, space physics, space mission and spacecraft design, rocketry and spacecraft propulsion, space instrumentation and sensors, solar system galactic frontier, heliospheric and magnetospheric physics, space environment, orbital debris, particle and photon analyzers and detector systems, space education, and history of rocketry, space, and missile defense. Prof. Gruntman’s graduate course at USC on space systems is among largest in the country, with nearly 2000 students enrolled from 1996. He also teaches short courses on space technology for government and industry. Mike authored and co-authored more than 300 scholarly publications, including 4 books (http://astronauticsnow.com/books/ ). His AIAA published “Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry” received an award from the International Academy of Astronautics in 2006; it is held in >750 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. His educational space video clips scored more than one million views on YouTube. Mike’s web site is http://astronauticsnow.com.