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Membership is open to former COMSAT employees and surviving spouses.

Last update: 11-Sep-2014

It's time to send in your reservation if you can attend the 2014 Social at the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg, September 28, 4pm. You can mail a check or use the new PayPal interface at the bottom of this page. Reservations are $30 per person and needed by September 20.
View the Sep 11 newsletter:

Next Board Meeting

Tue, Sep 23, 2014, 11:30am
Chez Kinzie


Sun, Sep 28, 2014, 4:00pm
Golden Bull Grand Cafe - Gaithersburg

First Wednesday in December

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

 Upcoming Events

Fall Social and Annual Meeting - September 28, 2014

Golden Bull Restaurant Please join your COMSAT friends and colleagues for a social gathering on Sunday afternoon, September 28, 4:00pm at the Golden Bull Grand Cafe in Gaithersburg. This will be a chance to visit and catch up with friends and acquaintances from your COMSAT days. Spouses are welcome.

The cost is $30 per person. The Social Announcement has details for the excellent menu that will be served from 4:30-5:30. Main dishes include Carved Round of Beef, Chicken Marsala, and Seafood Newburg. If you haven't paid 2014 dues, please consider adding $15 to the total to pay for 2014 dues. Please mail your checks by September 19 to
PO Box 34594,
Bethesda, MD 20827.

You can also use the PayPal link on bottom of the COMARA home page to pay for your reservation.
Checks will be accepted at the door but only if we knew you planned to attend.

Pass the word to others with Comsat backgrounds. Note that although this social is being organized by the COMSAT Alumni & Retirees Association (COMARA), the event is open to all former Comsat employees and spouses.

2014 Election for COMARA Board of Directors

The COMARA Board of Directors is please to announce the slate of candidates that it is recommending for election for the three vacancies that are up for election this year to each serve a three-year term (2014-2017). The candidates are:

  • Denis Curtin
  • Bob Kinzie
  • Dan DiFonzo

Bob and Denis are currently members of the COMARA Board of Directors, and have graciously agreed to stand for election for another term. Dan DiFonzo would be a new addition to the Board, and would be replacing Joe Pelton, who has already served two terms on the Board, and also served as the President of COMARA during that period, for which the organization is extremely grateful. Joe advised the Board that he would prefer not to run for another term, and we are appreciative of Dan DiFonzo's willingness to join the Board at this time. (The election is conducted using an online ballot that will be available by Aug 28.)

Members who have paid dues can cast your votes for this year's election.

  • Sign In using either your PIN or password (previously set up)
    • If your PIN is not displayed in the sign in form, select the "Send my PIN to my email address" link and include an email address that is in your profile.
    • Check your email box for your PIN
    • Sign in with last name in the top box and
      PIN in the middle box or password in the bottom box.
      (You only need the PIN or the password.)
    • Be sure the checkbox labelled "Don't remember my sign in information." is unchecked to make it easier to sign in next time.
  • Navigate to Ballot 2014
  • Record your votes for the 2014 Class of Directors
  • Alternatively, you can mail your selection to:
    COMARA, PO Box 34594, Bethesda, MD 20827
    email your selection to

August 2014 Newsletter

View the August 2014 Newsletter [pdf]. This was mailed to members that don't have a valid email on their profile. If you didn't get your copy, email

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

PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827
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Board of Directors
  • Joe Pelton - 2011
  • Denis Curtin - 2011
  • Bob Kinzie - 2011
  • Maury Mechanick - 2012
  • Paul Schrantz - 2012
  • Peter Jacxsens - 2012
  • Fred Kelly - 2013
  • Geza Serenyi - 2013
  • Ron Johnson - 2013
  • Maury Mechanick - President
  • Fred Kelly - Secretary
  • Geza Serenyi - Treasurer
  • Denis Curtin - Social
  • Peter Jacxsens - Membership
  • Ron Johnson - 1st Wednesday
  • Jack Hannon - Benefits
  • Paul Schrantz - Legacy
  • Ron Garlow - Webmaster

04-Oct-2013 rev3