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Body of Judith Resnick to Be Cremated

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The body of Judith Resnick, one of the seven astronauts who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, will be cremated, her father, Dr. Marvin Resnick, told the Army Radio Tuesday in an interview from Akron, Ohio. He spoke in Hebrew and English.

The interview followed discovery of the shuttle’s crew compartment on the ocean floor off the Florida coast last week with the remains of the five men and two women aboard. Although the remains were said not to be intact, Resnick, a medical doctor, was quoted in the American media as saying officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believe some of the bodies could be identified.

Resnick told the Army Radio that efforts to raise the crew compartment have been delayed by bad weather. But once it is brought to the surface, forensic experts will examine the bodies, he said.

“She achieved something in her life but her life was too short,” Resnick said of his daughter who, at 35, held a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and had completed one successful flight in the space shuttle. She was the second woman astronaut to go into space and the first Jewish woman astronaut.

Media reports in the U.S. said the families of the astronauts greeted news of the discovery of their remains with mixed feelings. There was relief but also concern that their ordeal would be prolonged while the painful process of identification proceeds. Judith Resnick’s stepsister, Linda Reppert, said, “I wouldn’t say it (discovery of the remains) was a very pleasant surprise. It just never ends.”

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