• unknown (b.)


From 1969 to 1982, Ratliff worked for the Martin Marietta Corporation in a progression of engineering and managerial positions. He was a member of the NASA Viking program flight team when the Viking spacecraft landed on Mars in 1976, and wrote the data management system, MFILE, for the Viking lander support software. In 1978 he wrote a database program in assembly language at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. He called it Vulcan (after Mr. Spocks home planet in the Star Trek world) and based it on Jeb Long's JPLDIS. Ratliff says he wrote the program to help win the football pool at the office.