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Last update: 28-Aug-2018

Social & Annual Meeting

Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 12pm - 3pm
Thats Amore
Rockville, MD

$30 per person

Election for Board of Directors

Sep 15-28

By Electronic Ballot

Informal Board Meeting

Sun, Sep 30, 2018

Certify the Election

Upcoming COMARA Events


2018 COMSAT Alumni Social - September 30, 2018

That's Amore Please join your COMSAT friends and colleagues for a social gathering at 12pm, Sunday afternoon, September 30 at the That's Amore in Rockville. This will be a chance to visit and catch up with friends and acquaintances from your COMSAT days.

Spouses and guests are welcome.

We will have time to socialize from 12 to 1 pm.
We will have a buffet lunch from 1 to 3 pm.
A brief COMARA Annual meeting will be held at the start of the social event.

Pay by check or credit card (using PayPal}

See 2018 Social Announcement for details.

Election for Board of Directors

COMARA has a Board containing nine Directors. Each Director serves for a three year term. This provides for continuity in guiding the organization. COMARA has a set of Bylaws that govern a number of the actions. The Board is responsible to provide a list of candidates 30 days prior to the annual meeting.

The three Directors whose term is expiring this year were elected in 2015. These are: Peter Jacxsens, David Lee, and Maury Mechanick. Maury and David have agreed to stand for election is 2018. Peter Jacxsens does not plan to continue.

The Board has approached Richard Rankin to serve on the Board and Richard has agreed to appear on the list of candidates for the 2018 Election for Directors.

The election is conducted using an electronic ballot in the COMARA website. Only members who have paid current dues, or have paid dues at some point in the past are allowed to vote for the Directors. All members will receive an email (Approximately September 8) when the electronic ballot is available if we have a working email address for the member. If you need to update your email address, send an email to and you will receive a confirmation email when your address is updated.

The results are stored in a table in the online database for the website. Members can vote only once, but can change their votes until two days before the annual meeting.

You can view a copy of the Bylaws . This version was approved in 2002.

Richard E. Rankin Biography

President of Brandywinecreek Associates, LLC which is an independent consulting firm providing insurance and risk management advisory services to aerospace and telecommunication clients.

Past professional career positions have involved service with AMTRAK, FAA and AON Space Insurance Brokers. Served on Comsat's Corporate Finance Staff as Manager, Insurance & Investments (Pensions).

Membership commitments include: Toastmasters International; American Revolution Roundtable of Washington, DC; Sons of the American Revolution (George Washington Chapter) and the Brandywine Conservancy.

Resides in the City of Falls Church, VA

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.)

Have you paid dues for 2018?

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 2018.

The Treasurer reports that the number of paid members for 2018 is very low, and at this point is not enough to support our basic expenses. We had 113 members who had paid current year dues by this time in 2017. We currently have only 44 members who are supporting our activities by paying dues.

One of the activities we are currently working on is a complete refresh of the site design. We are working on changes that will enable a member to navigate and view the information on the website using any device - computer, tablet, or smart phone.

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 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

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)

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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