Blazing the Trail:
The Early History
About Mike Gruntman
Mike's videos on satellite orbits
Sputnik Explorer Vanguard Astronautics Missile defense Baikonur Tyuratam
Mike's classes at USC: ASTE 520 Spacecraft Design and ASTE 470 Spacecraft Propulsion
other rocket science stuff
– Yuri A. Gagarin Socks for the First Cosmonaut of Planet Earth –
The Cosmos of the Russian Avante-Garde (in English, Spanish, Greek) Elite Space Club
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (left) at the 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Orlando, Fla. (January 5, 2011) and Appollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin (right) at ASTE event (December 13, 2011)
How to get the rocket-scientist T-shirt.
The true story ... Now it can be told
Lecture (video; 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
The lecture focuses on the history of the events that led us to the space age.
The video (in high-resolution) can be downloaded to your computer.
Space: From Firecrackers to Interstellar Flight (webcast)
Part 1. The First Thousand Years. (71 min)
Part 2. Space in 21st Century. (78 min)
Videos – satellite orbits
More than 1,000,000 views – yes, >10^6 – on YouTube alone from 2007 to 2016
Some selected videos on satellite orbits
Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry,
AIAA, Reston, Va., 2004
Winner of the Luigi Napolitano Award (2006) from
the International Academy of Astronautics
From Astronautics to Cosmonautics,
Space Pioneers Robert Esnault-Pelterie and Ary Sternfeld,
Booksurge, North Charleston, S.C., 2007
Nominated (2008) for the Emme Award of
the American Astronautical Society
Enemy Amongst Trojans. A Soviet Spy at USC,
Figueroa Press, Los Angelesd, Calif., 2010
Intercept 1961. The Birth of Soviet Missile Defense,
AIAA, Reston, Va., 2015
More than 500 (!) libraries worldwide hold Mike's Blazing the Trail in their collections.
Mike's book chapters
Mike Gruntman is the founder of the
Astronautics Program at the
University of Southern
California (USC). He has been leading its nationally prominent flagship component,
Master of Science in Astronatical Engineering (MS ASTE), since mid-1990s
In 2004, the program was reorganized
into a new independent academic unit, today's Department of Astronautical Engineering.
This is a unique development in space engineering education in the United States, and
this is a unique department. It offers Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science (Minor),
Master of Science, Engineer, and PhD degrees and Graduate Certificate in
Mike served the founding chairman, 2004–2007, of the new department and guided its spectacular growth. Mission accomplished! The University appointed him again the chairman of the department for 2016–2019.
The journey continues – Ad Astra!
The MS ASTE program has awarded, on average, almost 40 Master's degrees annually during the last 8 years. Mike's graduate course on space systems is among largest in this area in the country. About 1250 graduate students took this class during 12 years from 2003-2014 and almost 1700 students since 1996. Mike also teaches short courses on space systems for government and industry.
Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENA) in Space – astronauticsnow.com/ENA/
Measurement of energetic neutral atoms (ENA) in space has emerged as a powerful tool to remotely probe hot plasmas and populations of energetic ions such as planetary magnetospheres and the interstellar (galactic) boundary of the heliosphere. The original bold vision of ENA imaging emerged in the late 1970s. About 20 years of concept refinement and development of enabling instrumentation followed to overcome measurement challenges. Mike Gruntman played a leading role in this development. NASA's IMAGE mission successfully demonstrated the instrumentation and the power of the experimental concept by imaging Earth's magnetosphere and Cassini imaged the magnetosphere of Saturn in ENA fluxes. Two ENA imagers are launched in 2007 and 2008 on the NASA TWINS mission to conduct, for the first time, stereoscopic imaging of the Earth magnetosphere. NASA's IBEX mission, launched in 2008, mapped for the first time the interstellar (galactic) frontier of the solar system in ENA fluxes. The Science magazine highlighted IBEX discoveries on its cover in November 2009.
Among Mike's main contributions to ENA and EUV imaging are
(a) discovery (1982) of the disturbance of the supersonic interstellar wind by the neutral solar wind flux (pdf) – the effect that is today routinely accounted for in global heliospheric models and possibly contributing to the yet unexplained heliospheric ribbon;
(b) prediction (1992) of the anisotropy of heliospheric ENA fluxes, the effect that has enabled heliosphere ENA imaging (pdf) – first implemented and demonstrated by IBEX;
(c) part of effort (2001) in definitive formulation of the concept of heliosphere boundary ENA imaging in an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research (pdf) – a key to proposing the winning science objectives for the IBEX mission;
(d) experimental demonstration (1981) of ENA detection with energies down to 0.5 keV (1.5 orders of magnitude down from the lowest energies of >20 keV at the time) using thin foils ans start-stop time-of-flight (TOF) techniques (pdf) – the breakthrough technique that enabled ENA imaging instruments on the IMAGE (MENA) and TWINS missions;
(e) experimental demonstration (1981) of measuring absolute particle detection efficiency without calibration (pdf) – the technique that is used on IBEX (IBEX-Hi);
(f) spearheading the effort to formulate and propose the first dedicated ENA space experiment and building the first generation ENA instruments (early and mid-1980s) to detect the neutral component of the solar wind and heliospheric ENA fluxes from the interstellar boundary of the solar system (pdf) – the flight experiment (experiment GAS njointly with MPAe and CBK, instruments GAS-1, GAS-2, GAS-3, and block GAS-E) was built but never flown in space due to "political" headwinds (first scheduled for ill-fated Phobos mission to be launched in 1986 and then removed and rescheduled for never-launched Relikt-2; two Phobos spacecreaft were launched in 1988 and were lost); IBEX measured for the first time heliopsheric ENAs in 2009; the neutral solar wind (pdf) is yet to be observed experimentally;
(g) developing a concept (1981) and demonstrating (1995) suppression of UV and EUV background photon fluxes (main contributors to signal noise) in ENA instruments by diffraction filtering (pdf); – the technique that enabled ENA imaging instruments on the IMAGE (MENA) and TWINS missions;
(h) proposing (1983) and developing in detail (1991) a concept of the unique technique for detection of low-energy neutral atoms by their surface cionversion to negative ions (pdf); – the technique that enabled low-energy ENA imaging on the IMAGE (LENA) and IBEX (IBEX-Lo) missions;
(i) development of the concept (1998) of EUV mapping of the heliopause (pdf);
(j) development of the concept of and demonstrating a breakthrough enabling design (2005) of an instrument for EUV mapping of the three-dimensional solar wind and the heliopause (pdf);
(k) ruling out (1993) use of coded-apertures for ENA imaging of the magnetosphere (pdf).
Mike's 1997 review article on imaging of space plasmas in ENA fluxes remains to this day a main publication in the field.
About Mike Gruntman
Mike Gruntman is professor of astronautics and professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and the founder of the USC Astronautics Program. He served the first (founding) Chairman (2004–2007) of the USC Department of Astronautical Engineering and again appointed the chairman for 2016–2019. Mike is involved in a number of research and development programs in space science and space technology; he authored and co-authored nearly 300 scholarly publications, including 4 books, in the areas of astronautics, space physics, space technology, scientific instrumentation, space sensors, rocketry, space and rocket history, and astronautical education.
History – astronauticsnow/history
Various events, documents, and publications related (and a very few unrelated) to history of spacecraft and rocketry.
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