Thursday, June 13, 2019
6:00 PM: Doors open for refreshments and networking
6:30 to 8:30 PM: Presentation and Q&A

Registration and donation prepayment requested

Bring ticket to meeting


KeyPoint Credit Union
2805 Bowers Ave (just off Central Expressway)
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Park in lot adjacent to building on Bowers Ave.

Our Thanks To KeyPoint Credit Union

IEEE SV Tech History committee is extremely grateful to KeyPoint Credit Union for use of their auditorium as a venue.
Many thanks to Doron Noyman of KeyPoint for his support in making this happen.

Additional sponsors:

Computer History Museum, Storage SIG
IEEE SCV Magnetics Society

Challenger Shuttle disaster: Recovery of data from damaged tapes


On January 28, 1986 the Challenger rocket disintegrated shortly after takeoff spreading debris over about 500 square miles.


As an introduction to this event Francine Bellson will cover how Silicon Valley’s engineering & education communities coalesced to return a personal token from the Challenger flight that local students had given to Astronaut Ronald McNair


About seven weeks after the disintegration tapes containing flight and crew data were recovered after having been immersed in 100 feet of salt water. They were so corroded that they resembled a brie doughnut and the data were deemed unrecoverable by NASA and the tape and the drive manufacturers.  A chance meeting of NASA officials with IBM scientists and engineers at IBM’s Tucson laboratory led to the recovery of the data.


Dr. Ric Bradshaw led the team that recovered the data. His observations, findings and conclusions are memorialized in a set of images that he will discuss at this meeting.  Ric has more than 40 years experience in tape media development and can share his opinions and observations on the state of the industry during the question and answer period.




Dr. Bradshaw received a B.S, in Chemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a PhD in Synthetic Organic/Polymer Chemistry from Arizona State University.  He joined the IBM Tucson laboratory in 1978 and was instrumental in the development of tape formulations starting with the 3480 and continuing thru to today’s LTO.  He was a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and has represented IBM at numerous storage industry and technology organizations.  He retired from IBM in 2007 and is now consulting to the storage industry.


Francine Bellson came from MIT (SM, Physics) to Silicon Valley in 1974, where she’s worked at Fairchild R&D, Varian Assocs. and IBM. Mrs. Bellson is an active member of this committee, a senior member of SWE, a Life member of IEEE and a member of IEEE-WIE.


Tom Gardner, the moderator, is is an active member of this committee