RESNIK, JUDITH ARLENE (1949–1986), U.S. scientist and astronaut and the second American woman to travel in space. Born in Akron, Ohio, to Marvin and Sarah Polens Resnik, she was an outstanding student and a talented classical pianist who received a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1977. An early marriage to Michael Oldak, a fellow student, ended in divorce in 1975. Resnik was recruited by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for astronaut training in 1978. At NASA she worked on a number of projects in support of Orbiter development, including experiment software, the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), and training techniques. In 1984 Resnik served on the crew of the Orbitor Discovery, logging just short of 145 hours in space. The crew earned the name "Icebusters" in successfully removing hazardous ice particles from the Orbiter using the Remote Manipulator System. Resnik was killed with her six fellow crew members when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch on January 28, 1986. She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.