|Status||Killed during mission|
April 5, 1949|
|Died||January 28, 1986
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Time in space
|6d 00h 56m|
|Selection||1978 NASA Group|
Resnik was the second American female astronaut in space, logging 145 hours in orbit. She was also the first Jewish American in space, and the first Jewish woman of any nationality in space. She was a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and had a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland. The IEEE Judith Resnik Award for space engineering is named in her honor.
Resnik was born in 1949 to Sarah and Marvin, an optometrist, in Akron, Ohio. Both her parents were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. A graduate of Firestone High School in 1966, she excelled in mathematics and played classical piano. While at Firestone she achieved a perfect SAT score, the only female to do so that year. She received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University in 1970, the year she married fellow student Michael Oldak. They divorced in 1975. In 1977 she earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Maryland. She was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Epsilon Phi.
Resnik was recruited into the astronaut program in January 1978 by actress Nichelle Nichols, who was working as a recruiter for NASA. Her first space flight was as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Discovery, from August to September 1984. She was likewise a mission specialist aboard Challenger for STS-51-L. She was the first American Jewish astronaut to go into space, the first Jewish woman, and at the time only the second Jew to go to space (after Boris Volynov of the Soviet Union).
For people accustomed to seeing images of astronauts in space, Resnik's first space mission caused some buzz. Resnik was the second American woman in space, after Sally Ride, and fourth overall. Her hair was a halo of flowing locks, a startling sight to many viewers who were accustomed to seeing closely cropped men. During the flight, she was acclaimed for her weightless acrobatics and a playful sense of humor, once holding a sign reading "Hi Dad" up to the camera, and displaying a sticker on her flight locker that advertised her crush on actor Tom Selleck.
Following the Challenger disaster, examination of the recovered vehicle cockpit revealed that three of the crew members' Personal Egress Air Packs were activated: those of Resnik, mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, and pilot Michael J. Smith. The location of Smith's activation switch, on the back side of his seat, means that either Resnik or Onizuka could have activated it for him. This is the only evidence available from the disaster that shows Onizuka and Resnik were alive after the cockpit separated from the vehicle. If the cabin had lost pressure, the packs alone would not have sustained the crew during the two-minute descent.
Resnik has been awarded multiple posthumous honors, and has been honored with landmarks and buildings being named for her, including a lunar crater Resnik, located within the Apollo impact basin on the far side of the Moon. A dormitory at her alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, and the main engineering lecture hall at the University of Maryland are named for her. A memorial to her and the rest of the crew of Challenger has been dedicated in Seabrook, Texas, where she lived while stationed at the Johnson Space Center. In her hometown of Akron, Ohio, a school building was named in her honor, Judith Resnik Community Learning Center.
The IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award was established in 1986 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is presented annually to an individual or team in recognition of outstanding contributions to space engineering in areas of relevance to the IEEE.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) awards the Resnik Challenger Medal annually to a woman who has changed the space industry, has personally contributed innovative technology verified by flight experience, and will be recognized through future decades as having created milestones in the development of space as a resource for all humankind.
The Challenger Center was established in 1986 by the families of the Challenger crew - including Judith's brother, Charles Resnik MD in honor of the crew members. The goal of the center is to increase STEM interest in children.
- List of female astronauts
- List of Jewish astronauts
- Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
- History of the Jews in Houston
- "Remembering the Challenger". The Ohio Historical Society Collections Blog.
- UPI staff (4 February 1986). "Resnik was `living out a dream`". The Milwaukee Journal. UPI. Part 2 Page 5. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
Both got engineering jobs with RCA Corp. in Morristown N.J.
- Renner, Lisanne (29 January 1986). "Coverage from the day space shuttle Challenger exploded: Resnik liked a job label with no frills". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
Resnik didn't earn her pilot's license, the first step toward becoming an astronaut, until she left the National Institutes of Health in 1977 and took a job as a senior systems engineer with Xerox Corp. in El Segundo, Calif.
- "Nichelle Nichols, NASA Recruiter". NASA. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- "Biographical Data - Judith A. Resnick". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. December 2003.
- "The 51-L Crew: Judy Resnick". The Challenger Center. Archived from the original on 2012-07-06.
- "Remarks of Senator John Glenn, Memorial Service For Judith Resnik". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 1986-02-03.
- "Judith Resnik". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- Wade, Mark. "Resnik". Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Joseph P. Kerwin. "Letter from Joseph Kerwin to Richard Truly relating to the deaths of the astronauts in the Challenger accident". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- "IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award". IEEE. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
- "Resnik Challenger Medal". SWE. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
- cite web | url=https://www.challenger.org/who-we-are/#history
- cite web | url=http://medschool.umaryland.edu/FACULTYRESEARCHPROFILE/viewprofile.aspx?id=2540
- cite web | url=https://www.challenger.org/team_members/charles-resnik/
- Jim Siegel (February 24, 2010). "10 Ohioans proposed to represent state in U.S. Capitol". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Biography of Judith Resnik from IEEE
- January 1982 Pittsburgh Press article on Judith Resnik's planning her astronaut career
- Challenger's Enduring Mission by Charles Atkeison
- Autograph Letter of Astronaut Judy Resnik Shapell Manuscript Foundation
- Judith Resnik at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Judith Resnik in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Judith Resnik reference site". Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Judith Resnik at Find a Grave
- Judith Resnik at Find a Grave
- Judith Resnik Autographed Letter