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Last update: 24-May-2016

COMSAT in Dange of Coming to Earth

Looking Back: Washington Post - June 25, 2005

The 36-year-old Comsat building, right, with its glass-sheathed entry pavilion, above, is in the middle of a battle to save it from destruction. (Maryland-national Capital Park And Planning Commission Photos)

When it was built in 1969, the silvery Comsat building in its green field near the highway was a harbinger of things to come in upper Montgomery County. Along with the Atomic Energy Commission in Germantown and the National Bureau of Standards near Gaithersburg, the Comsat Laboratories building (to use the full title) presaged the development of the now-famed technology corridor -- the backbone of Montgomery's economic might.

Because of its position adjacent to Interstate 270, near Clarksburg, Comsat is by far the most visible of the three. The corporation, now owned by Lockheed Martin, was chartered by Congress in 1962 to stimulate and guide the growth of a private communications satellite industry. It did its job well.

Unfortunately, one thing that the Comsat building did not foretell about upper Montgomery -- or, for that matter, any of the Washington area's aesthetically dreary technology districts -- was architectural quality on a par with its own. Designed by Cesar Pelli, 1995 winner of the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, the Comsat building is, quite simply, strikingly beautiful. It is more than that, of course, but let's stick for a moment with the idea of beauty.

Oh, pardon me, but did I mention that the building's present owners want to tear it down? More...

7th Annual COMARA/IRAA & Intelsat Summer Picnic - May 22

Last year there were 76 persons in attendance. This year, we reached the capacity of the shelter at Seneca Creek State Park.

Please see below announcement posted on the IRAA website IRAA/COMARA 2016 Picnic.

Pictures will be available in a few days.


2016 Annual Meeting

Sun, Sep 25
Golden Bull Grand Cafe
Gaithersburg, MD

Next Board Meeting

Tue, Jul 26 11:30am
Chez Kinzie

Wine Tasting Tour

Saturday or Sunday, Early Fall 2016
Bus tour to two wineries in Virginia

Upcoming Events


Upcoming Social Events:

The IRAA is going to try to hold a Golf Outing sometime over the summer, and also do a half-day wine tour of two wineries in Loudon County, Va. Here is link below to website asking anyone who may interested to send and EMail to so we can get an idea/head count for planning purposes.

Once the Wolf Trap summer schedule is released, we'll be setting something up for an event out there too. Details to follow soon.

Many thanks.
Alan Olson

Golf Outing

Anyone interested in getting together for a fun time playing some golf is invited to join our first-ever golf outing planned for this summer. Any level of play or experience is welcomed. Ed Stoner is heading up this event and will try to put together an outing with everyone who has expressed an interest. This invitation is open to members of IRAA, COMARA, current Intelsat staff and anyone else who loves to play golf and have fun. Please send an EMail to

Virginia Wine Tasting Tour

Date: to be determined. A Saturday or Sunday, early Fall 2016.
Price: $50-$60 per person. (Includes transportation and wine tasting fees.
Lunch: additional $15 per person.

We will be setting up a half-day wine tour at two Loudon County Virginia wineries sometime later this summer or early fall. This invitation is also open to members of IRAA, COMARA, current Intelsat staff, and anyone else who loves wine and good camaraderie. If interested, please send an EMail to Anita Saltos:

The largest limousine/bus company in the state of Virginia offers weekend VIP Wine Tours. Visit some of Loudoun County's Award-winning wineries in style -- and let someone else do the driving.

Have you paid dues for 2016?

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. Already 124 members are paid up for 2016, consisting of 114 members who paid in advance last year and 10 who have sent in their contributions this year. The COMARA Board of Directors wholeheartedly thanks each of you who are already paid up for 2016.

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 say "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.

Your membership dues status is shown at the top of our Home Page after you sign in. If you have already paid your 2016 membership dues, thank you for your support. If you have not yet paid your 2016 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 2016 and 2017 membership dues.
PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827
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  • Fred Kelly - 2013
  • Geza Serenyi - 2013
  • Ron Johnson - 2013
  • Denis Curtin - 2014
  • Dan DiFonzo - 2014
  • Bob Kinzie - 2014
  • Peter Jacxsens - 2015
  • David Lee - 2015
  • Maury Mechanick - 2015
  • Maury Mechanick - President
  • Fred Kelly - Secretary
  • Geza Serenyi - Treasurer
  • Denis Curtin - Social
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