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Judith Resnik

The second female American astronaut to travel into space, Judith Resnik is remembered for her death in the tragic Challenger explosion. Resnik studied electrical engineering at Carnegie Tech (now called Carnegie-Mellon) before working in the missile and surface radar division of RCA. In 1971, she moved to Washington, DC, where she earned a PhD in engineering from the University of Maryland while working as a biomedical engineer in the neurophysics lab of the National Institutes of Health. In 1977, NASA began recruiting women and minorities to work in the space program and Resnik decided to apply, becoming one of six women accepted to the program. Resnick began as a specialist in operating the remote control mechanical arm that moved objects outside the spacecraft. In 1984, on her first space flight with the shuttle Discovery, she operated the 102-foot-long solar sail that was intended to capture the sun’s energy. The Challenger mission was to have been her second space launch, but 73 seconds into the flight, the shuttle exploded, killing the entire crew in one of the worst tragedies in NASA’s history.

Judith Resnik
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The first Jew and second woman to travel to space, Judith Resnik lost her life in the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, in which six other astronauts were killed.

Institution: NASA

Date of Birth
April 5, 1949
Place of Birth
Akron, Ohio
Date of Death
January 28, 1986

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Judith Resnik." (Viewed on December 14, 2018) <>.


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