DESCRIPTION: Comsat and a subsidiary, Comsat General Corp., are engaged primarily in providing international, maritime and U.S. domestic communications satellite services. Comsat also is one of three owners (along with Aetna Life & Casualty and International Business Machines Corp.) of Satellite Business Systems in McLean, which is developing a major satellite communications business for the 1980s and plans to launch its first satellite in October (NYSE,M,P,Phila.). 1979 PROFITS PER SHARE: $5.02. DIVIDENDS: $17.8 million ($2.225 a share, currently at a rate of $2.30 annually). FOUNDED: 1963. TOP EXECUTIVES: John D. Harper, chairman; Joseph V. Charyk, president and cheif executive officer.

In 1979, as worldwide communications traffic via satellite continued to grow, Comsat reduced by 15 percent its rates for international satellite communications services. In moves to apply satellite communications technology to new activites, Comsat has acquired a leading environmental services and monitoring company, ERT of Concord, Mass., and started talks about potential development of a satellite-to-home subscription TV service (initial negotiations with Sears, Roebuck & Co. on such an idea were dropped last week but Comsat will pursue the concept with other businesses). In general, Comsat is engaged in businesses and technologies that are expected to become a major economic growth area for the balance of the 20th century and this Washington firm could experience the most explosive growth of any area corporation in the next decade.