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Membership is open to former COMSAT employees and surviving spouses.

Last update: 31-Oct-2014

Jack Hannon provided some insight about the documents that LMC retirees will receive in the coming days. A copy of his remarks has been emailed to all COMARA members with a working email address in our records. If you didn't get a copy in your email, you can view it:
"LM Essentials Plan for Retired Employees" Not Our Only Option for 2015
If you didn't receive a copy of this email, please update your profile (after sign in), or send your current email address to

Next Board Meeting

Tue, Nov 18, 2014, 11:30am
Chez Kinzie

Benefits Enrollment

Watch for Jack Hannon's review of benefits for LMC Retirees

First Wednesday in December

Wed, Dec 3,2014, 6:30pm
Golden Bull Grand Cafe - Gaithersburg

 Upcoming Events

  Photos from the 2014 Social

Photos from the 2014 Social We had a great turnout for the 2014 Social at the Golden Bull Grand Cafe on Sunday, September 28. View the album containing photos. Captions on the photos identify the people in each photo. Click any photo to view the photo in a larger size and display the caption. Navigate through the set using arrow links or arrow keys on the keyboard. There is also a link to the slide show from this view.

Roland Liu just shared the phots he took at the social. They have been added to the first set provided by Ron Garlow.

If you took any photos you would like to share, contact to arrange for transfer of your photos. If any of the captions are incorrect, let the webmaster know.

First Wednesday in December 2014 (December 3, 2014)

Can you believe how fast this year is going? It's approaching that time of the year again: the Annual 1st Wednesday in December COMSAT Old Timers Get-to-gather. The gathering will be held at the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg.. It's a completely informal event starting around 6:30 pm. In the past, this event was for Labs employees, but now its evolved to include all COMSAT Alumni, spouses and significant others. It's a completely informal event starting around 6:30 pm.

The 2014 First Wednesday in December will be held December 3 at the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg. This is an informal event organized by Ron Johnson and sponsored by COMARA.

Full details can be found on the announcement page at First Wednesday in December. Please let Ron know if you plan to attend.

2014 Election for COMARA Board of Directors

The COMARA Board of Directors is please to announce the Directors in the 2014 Class (2014-2017). The Directors are:

  • Denis Curtin
  • Bob Kinzie
  • Dan DiFonzo

  CosmicHazards -- How Dangerous is Your Cosmic Neighborhood?

Joe Pelton and Firooz Allahdadi are editing a new book on orbital debris for the International Space University and have produced a video featuring ex astronauts Rusty Schwieckart and Ed Lu of the B612 Foundation and Dr. Donald Kessler of the Kessler Syndrome Fame.

Over the last few decades humans have not only learned that we are traveling through space on our own very special spacecraft called Planet Earth but that the journey we take around the Sun each year is actually a very hazardous journey. In some ways we are playing Russian roulette with a random set of rock and metal bullets that were first fired at our small six sextillion-ton planet millions of years ago. Watch the video from:

The Rise and Fall of Comsat

We received a note from Dave Whalen letting us know that his book, The Rise and Fall of Comsat has just been published by Palgrave-Macmillan.

July 17 Update: The book publisher offers a substantial discount code to COMARA members who want to purchase the book. Several people have had problems getting the discount. The publisher reports that these problems have now been solved.

David J. Whalen gained BA and MS degrees in Astronomy at Boston University and University of Massachusetts, spent five years in the US Navy (A6A Intruder), and began a 30-year career as a communications satellite engineer. Since 2007, he has been teaching in the Department of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota, USA, where he was Chair of the Department of Space Studies from 2007 to 2010.

Read Dave's email to COMARA.

Comsat Engineering - The Early Years
Sid Metzger, 1995

Note from Miriam Metzger: I just came across a draft of a paper Sid had written for a symposium at G.W. It deals with the organizational and technical problems during the early years at Comsat in great detail. I'm wondering if COMARA would be interested in it? We did tell her that we would definitely be interested. See the paper in the Legacy section: The Early Years

New COMARA member - Peter Varadi

Dr Varadi worked at COMSAT Laboratories from 1968 to 1973 and was the head of the Chemistry Department. He sent an email telling us his book: "Sun Above the Horizon - Meteoric rise of the solar industry" was recently published. Dr Varadi and Dr. Joseph Lindmayer (who was the head of COMSAT Lab's Physics Department) left COMSAT in 1973 to start Solarex Corporation which was one of the two US companies starting the terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) industry. Varadi notes that the link to Solarex contains only half of the story. The entire story of the oil companies involvement in PV is described in Chapter 24 of my book entitled: "The big oil's involvement in PV".

The first 100 pages of the book describes history related to COMSAT. Comsat is also mentioned in Chapter 26 "Space applications used in everyday life." for which I received lot's of help from Joe Pelton and Bob Strauss (both reviewed it).

The book can be now purchased directly from the publisher at a special price (Paperback for $19.96 and free shipping). The book is also available from for a few dollars more. You can read more at This page has an offer from the publisher for the special discount, and a photo of the book cover which displays the recommendation by Dr. Denis Curtin.

PayPal now available

Geza Serenyi (COMARA Treasurer) recently established an account with PayPal so that COMARA Members can pay for annual dues or event charges using either their own PayPal account or any of a number of credit cards. All of the personal information regarding your credit card is handled by PayPal. None of the information is shared with COMARA. When you complete a transaction using PayPal, you receive a confirming email from PayPal, and the treasurer receives an email confirming the amount of the transaction. You don't pay any extra for this service. Peter Hoover, our newest member, was the first one to test the new feature.

NEM Satellites: Transforming Our Lives Concept Drawings

Satellites - Transforming Our LivesThe NEM (National Electronics Museum) Exhibit: Satellites: Transforming Our Lives is supported by a number of COMARA members. Joe Pelton provided a copy of the newest concept drawings from Brady Petitti Design (Version 3) . This is a large document, 5.3 MB, so it may take awhile to load if you have a slow internet connection, or want to view it on a mobile device. This is a PDF file containing 15 pages.
Return comments to Joe Pelton

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2015 Enrollment - Oct 28 - Nov 13
  1. Make Elections before Deadline
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Board of Directors
  • Maury Mechanick - 2012
  • Paul Schrantz - 2012
  • Peter Jacxsens - 2012
  • Fred Kelly - 2013
  • Geza Serenyi - 2013
  • Ron Johnson - 2013
  • Denis Curtin - 2014
  • Dan DiFonzo - 2014
  • Bob Kinzie - 2014
  • Maury Mechanick - President
  • Fred Kelly - Secretary
  • Geza Serenyi - Treasurer
  • Denis Curtin - Social
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  • Ron Johnson - 1st Wednesday
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