The pilot and astronaut, Judith A. Resnik (1949-1986) became the second American woman in space in 1984, on the maiden flight of the orbiter Discovery. She logged 145 hours in space on that mission and was at the beginning of a promising career. Resnik was part of the Challenger crew that was lost in 1986, ending her career on her second and final mission.
Resnik received her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1970 from Carnegie-Mellon University. During her employment at RCA, Resnik was busy designing radar circuits, managing projects and performance evaluations of control system equipment.
She later became a biomedical engineer in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and In 1977, earned her doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. Resnik then served as a senior systems engineer with Xerox Corporation at El Segundo, California, where she first read about and applied for a job as an Astronaut with NASA.
Her first flight into space was on August 30,1984 as a mission specialist on the maiden flight of Discovery. She helped 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 shuttle Challenger as a flight engineer and backup pilot to the Commander. All aboard the Challenger were lost shortly after launch. When asked to speak about Judith and her life, one of Judith’s close friends said, “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.”