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Last update: 23-May-2018

2018 Picnic Recap

After a dreary week of rain and coolish temperatures thru Saturday, causing much anxiety about the expected weather for yesterday's event, the clouds gave away to bright sunshine and warmer temperatures for the picnic where 69 persons were in attendance out of 79 who RSVPd coming: 57 IRAA, 3 Intelsat, 7 COMARA, and 2 former Intelsat. Once again, everyone had a fun time enjoying the warm camaraderie between friends and former colleagues from COMARA, IRAA, current/former Intelsat staff who reconnected and reminisced with each other.

Ed Stoner, who was a professional photographer for INTELSAT, took a number of photos and has uploaded these to the internet. You can view his photos from Ed Stoner's Picnic Photos

As has been customary, the menu fare consisted of the popular and delicious Crisp n Juicy chicken, along with lots of roasted vegetables and our own grilled Bubba burgers (some with Todd's Dirt, a gourmet seasoning made up with 14 spices/herbs), chipotle black bean burgers and hot dogs. An unexpected delight were the many delicious, homemade cupcakes brought by Linda Marlow.

As usual, big thanks to Alan Olson and his team for organizing the picnic. You can read additional details from the IRAA Website Social Events
(You may need to click the "Social Events" tab at the top of the page to view the article.)

The Sun is Rising in Africa & the Middle East

On the Road to a Solar Energy Future

Peter Varadi Book Peter F. Varadi, Frank Wouters & Allan R. Hoffman
Another book by our prolific alum, Peter Varadi. Peter F. Varadi is a true solar energy pioneer co-founded Solarex Corporation, USA, in 1973 that pioneered this field. His book: Sun above the Horizon (2014), and its sequel, Sun towards High Noon (2017).

Today utilization of solar energy is of interest to everybody but especially important for government and private sector officials in Africa, the Middle East, and other regions of the developing world; bankers, investors, and other members of the financial community interested in solar/renewable energy; students interested in entering the solar/renewable energy field; development specialists and students: solar energy students and specialists; vendors of solar energy equipment

COMSAT Slide Collection

One of the COMSAT Legacy collections is a box containing nearly 1100 slides. Dan DiFonzo recently took on the job of scanning the slides so our members, and the world can share them. This is a gargantuan job. Dan has created a OneDrive album and uploaded the slides to this album. This is a massive collection with a size of about 2GB.

From Dan DiFonzo: As promised, here is the link to view and/or download the 1100 Comsat slides that I scanned and digitized. These images have been uploaded to a OneDrive album.

Comsat Slides

Click the array to view the OneDrive Album

The notation on each slide refers to the drawer that contained the slides in the 3 across x 6 down set of plastic drawers. Otherwise, the slides are numbered in the order I scanned them. Only 14 of the drawers had slides.
Daniel F. DiFonzo

Pictures from First Wednesday Gathering

First Wednesday in December 2017 Pictures Thanks to Ron Johnson for making arrangements for this gathering. We had 52 members and spouses attend the First Wednesday in December Gathering. We filled up the place. Lots of good conversation. Ron Johnson received an heirloom tee shirt. Paul Schrantz and Geza Serenyi provided these photos from the gathering.

View the photos

The annual 1st Wednesday in December COMSAT Employees Get-to-gather was held at the Woodside Deli in Germantown. Originally, this was for Labs employees, but now it has evolved to include all COMSAT Alumni, spouses and significant others.


Google Chrome wants the internet to be more secure.

For Your Information

Google wants the internet to become more secure. You may have noticed the letters at the front of a web address: either "http" or "https". This is the HyperText Transport Protocol. The "s" at the end of the second option stands for "secure". Text for any link specified with "https" is encrypted by the browser before sending the message. The web page receiving the information will then decrypt the information before using it.

Beginning in October, Google Chrome will tell the user if the link is secure. At this time, you might notice a small "i" inside a circle that is displayed at the top of the page that displays the web address. This is shown for pages still using the "http" protocol. Secure web pages display the word "Secure" at the top of the page next to the web address. Other browser manufacturers, e.g., Firefox, Opera, and Edge, are expected to follow this as well. Several browsers already show an icon of a padlock next to the web address of secure sites.

At this time, the web hosting company used by COMARA does not support secure transmission. We need to purchase and install an SSL Certificate on the web site. Next the webmaster must search all pages and edit any pages that contain the "http" characters.

This action is not urgent because COMARA does not ask for your credit card information or personal information used for identity theft. (Credit card payments through PayPal are already secured by PayPal.)

If you have any questions, please fee free to send an email to



Pictures from the 2017 COMSAT Alumni Social - Sep. 24

Joe and Eloise Serve Cake Joe Pelton again offered his house in Chain Bridge Forest in Arlington as the venue for this year's Reunion. Thirty two members attended.
See some photos of Joe and Eloise's Octoberfest feast, the comfortable setting and photos of some of the attendees. If you took any photos at the Social, please send them to the webmaster so they can be added to this collection. Thanks to Maury Mechanick who provided 8 photos.


Satellite Gallery Opens at National Electronics Museum--July 10, 2017

The "Satellites: Transforming our Lives" exhibit--after 5 years of fund raising, collecting artifacts, and careful design opened at the National Electronics Museum as of July 10, 2017. It was a long hard slog to raise over $600,000 from some 50 different contributors, to put together the exhibit artifacts including satellites and launchers, create the Arthur C. Clarke mini-theater, display the entire SSPI Hall of Fame--among many other wonderful features. The committee that made this happen are to be congratulated. They include Denis Curtin, Maury Mechanick, Ellen Hoff, Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, Ramesh Gupta, Scott Chase, and Joe Pelton, who has chaired the effort over the past 5 years. The opening will be as of July 10, 2017 and there will be a special gala opening in the Fall for members of the Maryland state government, industry officials, the SSPI, the Hall of Fame and major contributors.

Pictured are in the introductory foyer of the satellite gallery are:
Ellen Hoff (Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Michael Simons (National Electronics Museum Director),
Ruth-Pritchard Kelly (Satellite Gallery Committee and representative on behalf of Wilbur Pritchard),
Denis Curtin (Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Joseph Pelton (Chair, Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Maury Mechanick ((Satellite Gallery Committee and President of COMARA)


Pictures from 8th Annual IRAA/COMARA & Intelsat Summer Picnic

Date: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Seneca Creek State Park - Buck Pavillion
Hosted by Intelsat Retirees & Alumni Association

2017 IRAA/COMARA Picnic Photos We have some photos taken at the 2017 Picnic on May 21. These are hosted on Google Photos.
Alan Olson and his crew provided a great menu featuring Peruvian chicken, burgers, grilled vegetables, desserts, and salads.
The weather was great and all who showed up enjoyed the conversation and comaraderie. We hope more COMARA members will take advantage of the event next year. We are under a shelter so we are sheltered from hot sun or rain. There are lots of places to sit.

Have you paid dues for 2017?

So many New Year's Resolutions are quickly broken and forgotten, but one resolution you should work on is to keep up with your annual COMARA membership dues. The COMARA Board of Directors wholeheartedly thanks each of you who are already paid up for 2017.

Your dues are needed to support COMARA's mission of keeping the COMSAT Legacy alive and paying for this year's operational expenses such as the COMARA web site. COMARA.ORG has lots of wonderful links to legacy materials, membership contact data, and retiree benefits information.

If you cannot remember whether or not you are already paid up, you can check your dues status by signing in to COMARA.ORG and seeing if the text at the top left side next to your name says "Dues paid in current year" or "Future dues paid".
For the 600 of you are not already paid up, please mail your dues check of $15 for 1 year or better yet $30 for 2 years to:

PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827

Don't forget you can also pay your dues via the PayPal link at the bottom of the COMARA home page.

[The following text Updated Dec 8, 2017]
Your membership dues status is shown at the top of our Home Page after you sign in. We perform an update of the database near the end of the year. The update for 2018 did not happen until mid-February. Any dues paid in December 2017 will be applied to 2018 dues.
If you have already paid your 2018 membership dues, thank you for your support. If you have not yet paid your 2018 membership dues of $15 per year, please send a check to COMARA using our PO Box or use PayPal. Better yet, please send in $30 for both your 2018 and 2019 membership dues.
PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827
Pay with PayPal
What's New
Author's Corner
Benefits Information
Email and address Problems
John McLucas Book
In Memoriam
Board of Directors
  • Peter Jacxsens - 2015
  • David Lee - 2015
  • Maury Mechanick - 2015
  • Fred Kelly - 2016
  • Geza Serenyi - 2016
  • Ron Johnson - 2016
  • Denis Curtin - 2017
  • Dan DiFonzo - 2017
  • Bob Kinzie - 2017
  • Maury Mechanick - President
  • Fred Kelly - Secretary
  • Geza Serenyi - Treasurer
  • Denis Curtin - Social
  • Peter Jacxsens - Membership
  • Ron Johnson - 1st Wednesday
  • Paul Schrantz - Legacy
  • Rich Lustig - Benefits
  • Jack Hannon - Benefits
  • Ron Garlow - Webmaster


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