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Membership is open to former COMSAT employees and surviving spouses.

Last update: 22-Jul-2014

Next Board Meeting

Tue, Aug 19, 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

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.)

Also, as a reminder, the membership is permitted by the COMARA by-laws to place additional candidates in nomination if so desired. Any such nominations would need to be submitted by no later than July 28, 2014 (which is 60 days before the final balloting day of September 26, 2014), and any such nominations would need to supported by a total of 10 COMARA members in good standing and be accompanied by the consent of the nominee to be nominated. Any such nominations should be sent to the attention of Maury Mechanick, COMARA's president, at

View the COMARA Bylaws here.

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.

Capt. Charles Dorian - Jun 20, 2014

Photo of Charles Dorian Charles Dorian, 92, died peacefully at his home in Issaquah WA on June 20, 2014. Born September 27, 1921 to Edith (Beaton) and Charles John Cain Dorian in Quincy, MA. Charles is survived by his wife of 22 years, Willisa Dorian.

From 1972-82, Charles worked for the Communications Satellite Corporation as Director of International Relations, dealing with mobile satellite communications for ship, aircraft and land vehicles. He served on US Department of State delegations to the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, Switzerland over a twenty year period. He was one of the "fathers" of the new maritime satellite communications system, which is now the primary emergency and commercial system for all ships at sea.

Thanks to Dan Swearingen for the notice and for his comment:
"Chuck provided a mariner's perspective to the MARISAT program and helped greatly with COMSAT's efforts to connect with the international community via IMO (Intern. Maritime Org.) and the ITU (especially the CCIR). Those efforts helped smooth the transition of MARISAT into the INMARSAT program."

See Obituary: Captain CHARLES DORIAN

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

What we're working on

These pages will be up in a few days. Check back.

  • June 2014 Newsletter
  • Jack Hannon: Keep your retirement offer documents safe
  • 2014 Elections

Call for News
It's time to publish [OK, we know it is past the time], so send any news of your life we can share with our members to . Feel free to include a photo or two.

Problems with hosting company and our emails.

We had a problem when our web hosting company blocked some emails on May 8. Hopefully this problem has been resolved. If you received an email from COMARA in June - it was. We have a number of options if the problem has not been resolved, but they all take some time to implement.

PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827
Pay with PayPal
What's New
Author's Corner
Benefits Information
John McLucas Book
In Memoriam
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