Pilot and Astronaut Judith Resnik was born in Akron, Ohio, April 5, 1949, and died in the airspace over Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 28, 1986.
Resnik received her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1970 from Carnegie-Mellon University. During her ensuing employment at RCA, she worked as a design engineer, developing custom integrated circuitry for phased-array radar control systems, managing projects and performance evaluations of control system equipment.
She was a biomedical engineer and staff fellow in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1974 to 1977, and in 1977 earned her doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. She then
as a senior systems engineer with Xerox Corporation at El Segundo, California, where she first read about and applied for a job as
Astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Her first flight into space was on August 30, 1984 as a mission specialist on the maiden flight of the Orbiter Discovery. She help develop software for experiments, training techniques and the Remote Manipulator System - equipment which was used to remove hazardous ice from the wings of the orbiter.
Resnik flew her second and final mission on the Orbiter Challenger as a flight engineer and backup pilot to the Commander. All aboard the Challenger died when it exploded 1 minute and 13 seconds after launch.
One of Judith's close friends said of her, "she represented a lot of things I wish I had done. What Judith's life said again and again was that to work to excel at what you love is one of life's rare, deep pleasures. You must use your talents, do your best and do it now. Time does not wait; do not spend it on wishing."
To honor her spirit, American Flyers has established the Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship for pilots.