Courtesy of NASA

Judith Resnik 1949-1986

Judith Resnik was the first Jewish astronaut and the second woman ever to go into space. She died in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986. Born in Akron, Ohio, Resnik earned a PhD in electrical engineering in 1977 from the University of Maryland. She was selected for NASA's astronaut program in January 1978, serving as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1984. In 1986, she was again a mission specialist on STS-51-L, the Challenger mission that ended in disaster soon after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The lunar crater Resnik is named in her honor.