Saturday, November 29, 2008

Judith Resnik

This blog sponsored by Winged Victory: Women in Aviation website.

There are several tributes at YouTube to the several heroes who died during the space shuttle tragedies.

Astronaut Judith Resnik (April 5, 1949 – January 28, 1986) was an American engineer and astronaut who was killed in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger during the launch of mission STS-51-L.

Resnik was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She had one brother, Charles, who was four years younger. Her parents were Marvin, an optometrist, and Sara Resnik.

She attended Fairlawn Elementary School (renamed in her honor after her death), and graduated from Firestone High School, where she excelled in math and played classical piano. She achieved a perfect SAT score and was the lone female to do so that year.

Resnik earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1970. She married fellow student Michael Oldak in that year. They divorced in 1974 because Michael wanted children; Judith wanted to focus on her career.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, she was employed at RCA as a design engineer, and later worked with various NASA projects contracted to the company.

She earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1977 at the University of Maryland.

While working toward her doctorate, Resnik was affiliated with the National Institutes of Health as a biomedical engineer. Later, she was a systems engineer with Xerox Corporation.

She was selected for the astronaut program in January 1978, serving as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Discovery, from August to September 1984. She was also a mission specialist aboard Challenger for STS-51-L.

Resnik crater, located within the Apollo impact basin on the far side of the Moon, was named in her honor, as is a dormitory at Carnegie Mellon. There is a statue commemorating her on the grounds. The school library at Firestone High School, Resnik's high school alma mater, was also named after her.

Fairlawn Elementary School was renamed Judith A. Resnik Community Learning Center when it reopened in December 2006. There is also an elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland named in her honor, which opened in 1992. Judy Resnik Drive, a street in Randolph, NJ was also named after Resnik.

She was portrayed by Julie Fulton in the 1990 TV movie Challenger.

Biographical data from the NASA website: Learning center for students, honoring the fallen heros of the Challenger space shuttle.

In memorium: The Crew of the Challenger during flight STS-51-L:
Gregory Jarvis
Ronald McNair
Christa McAuliffe
Ellison Onizuka
Michael J. Smith
Dick Scobee
Judith Resnik

No comments: