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Dr. Martine Rothblatt

Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., MBA, J.D., 2 Hon DScs, Hon LLD is an American lawyer, Author, and Entrepreneur. She is the 2021 Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award winner. Her most recent book is Virtually Human: The Promise — and the Peril — of Digital Immortality. She started United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR) in 1996 and has served as Chairman & CEO since its inception. The company develops and commercializes unique analogs of natural molecules for cardiopulmonary disorders, novel monoclonal antibodies for certain cancers, small glycobiologicals for infectious diseases, telemedical services (including for International Space Station astronauts), and nutriceuticals.

Prior to starting United Therapeutics, in 1990 she created Sirius Satellite Radio and served as its first Chairman & CEO. She also initiated and led the effort to get the Federal Communications Commission to create the satellite radio service in which both Sirius and XM operate, based on underutilized frequencies and the novel concept of using GPS-type antennas for digital audio.

    President Clinton Receives Two Stars for Peace from Martine Rothblatt at Deutsche Bank 2005 Health Care Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
 

Prior to starting Sirius, Martine served as President & CEO of Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill’s satellite navigation company, Geostar System. The satellite system she launched in 1986 continues to operate today, providing service to certain government agencies. During this period she also partnered the first automatic vehicle location systems for public transit as well as founded a global satellite system called ‘WorldSpace’ to replace shortwave radio and provide tele-education services to people in developing countries.

Her career in satellite communications began with her MBA thesis in 1980 at UCLA which was essentially the blueprint for her first company, PanAmSat, which formed the basis of the first private international satellite system. She led the effort to get PanAmSat initially financed and approved which was eventually sold for $3.2 billion. This satellite system ultimately became the world’s largest after being acquired by Hughes and Intelsat.

Martine’s public service activities include representing the radio astronomy community in its efforts to secure quiet frequency bands for astrophysical research, developing improved medical ethics for transgender health service providers, and leading the International Bar Association’s biopolitical project to develop a draft Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights for the United Nations (whose final version was adopted by the UNESCO on November 11, 1997, and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998). Her publications include five books and over fifty peer-reviewed articles.

Read Gene treaty promises rewards for unique peoples.

    Martine Presents Two Stars for Peace to Gen. Colin Powell at Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
 

While at the NASA tracking station in the Seychelles, during the summer of 1974, Martine had her epiphany to unite the world via satellite communications. She then returned to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Arts and graduated summa cum laude in Communication studies from the University of California in 1977, with a thesis on international direct-broadcast satellites.

As an undergraduate, she became a convert to Gerard K. O’Neill’s “High Frontier” plan for space colonization after analyzing his 1974 Physics Today cover story on the concept as a project for Professor Harland Epps’ Topics in Modern Astronomy seminar. Martine subsequently became an active member of the L5 Society and its Southern California affiliate, Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement (OASIS). This is related to Lifeboat’s Space Habitats program.

She earned her combined MBA and Juris Doctor Degree (Order of the Coif) from UCLA in 1981. During her four-year study, she published five articles on the law of satellite communications and prepared a business plan for the Hughes Space and Communications Group titled PanAmSat. She also became a regular contributor on legal aspects of space colonization to the OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement) newsletter.
 

After graduating from UCLA in 1981, Martine was hired by the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling to represent the television broadcasting industry before the Federal Communications Commission in the areas of direct broadcast satellites and spread spectrum communication.

In 1982, she left to study astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park, but was soon retained by NASA to obtain FCC approval for the IEEE C band system on its tracking and data relay satellites and by the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Radio Frequencies to safeguard, before the FCC, radio astronomy quiet bands used for deep space research.

In 1984, she was hired by Rene Anselmo, the founder of the Spanish International Network to implement her PanAmSat MBA thesis as a new company that would compete with Intelsat. She discontinued her astronomy studies and consulting work in 1986 to become full-time CEO of Geostar Corporation with William E. Simon as chairman. She left in 1990 to create WorldSpace, the first global satellite radio network, and in the same year, she also launched the first non-geostationary satellite-to-car broadcasting system, Sirius Satellite Radio with a current market cap of $25 billion.

In 1994, motivated by her daughter being diagnosed with life-threatening pulmonary hypertension, Martine created the PPH Cure Foundation and in 1996 founded United Therapeutics. Her drug subsequently saved not only her daughter’s life, but also the lives of thousands of other lung-disease sufferers. United Therapeutics also provides the drug for free to patients who can’t afford it.

That same year, in 1996, she had sex reassignment surgery. At that time she also began studying for a Ph.D. in medical ethics and earned it in June 2001 at the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. Her degree dissertation was on the conflict between private and public interests in xenotransplantation. This thesis, defended before England’s leading bioethicist John Harris, was later published under the title Your Life or Mine.

Read From Satellites To Pharmaceuticals and Martine Rothblatt: She founded SiriusXM, a religion, and a biotech. For starters.

In 1997, United Therapeutics formed a subsidiary, Lung Biotechnology, to preserve and restore selected donor lungs, making them viable for transplantation. One subsidiary is also experimenting with pig cloning and genetic modification to create lung transplants.

United Therapeutics’ Organ Manufacturing Group is also currently developing a 3D printer capable of manufacturing the framework for lungs’ infrastructure. Their vision is that the framework and stem cells from a patient awaiting a lung transplant can then be used to grow lungs that can be transplanted into the patient without fear of rejection. Martine believes that an endless supply of organ transplants resistant to human rejection is possible within the next decade.

Martine also began looking at electric helicopters as a way of reducing energy consumption and noise while reducing transportation time for these sensitive organs. Read United Therapeutics: Making more lungs viable for transplants and Watch the World’s First Manned Battery-Powered Helicopter Fly.

In September 2016, Martine teamed with Glen Dromgoole of Tier 1 Engineering and pilot Ric Webb of OC Helicopters to conduct the world’s first electric-powered full-size helicopter flight at Los Alamitos Army Airfield. The helicopter, a modified Robinson R44, weighed 2,500 pounds with Webb as its test pilot, flew for five minutes, attained 400 feet and exceeded 80 knots airspeed — all completely powered by rechargeable batteries.

On February 16, 2017, her electric helicopter established new world records of a 30-minute duration flight and an 800-foot altitude at Los Alamitos Army Airfield. At the end of the flight, the 2,500 pound helicopter still had 8% state of charge remaining in its Brammo batteries. On March 4, 2017, Martine and Ric Webb set a world speed record for electric helicopters of 100 knots at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield under an FAA Experimental permit for tail number N3115T. This was also the first-ever flight of two people in a battery-powered helicopter.

On December 7, 2018, Martine earned certification in the Guinness Book of World Records for the farthest distance traveled (56.82 kilometers) by an electric helicopter.

In 2019, at a secret summit, a Texas conference hosted by Ross Perot Jr., she received the inaugural UP Leadership Award for her advances in eVTOL technology.

In September 2021, Martine’s project to deliver transplantable organs by electric drones was successfully achieved at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), resulting in the world’s first delivery of transplanted lungs by drone.

Martine’s United Therapeutics has placed orders with both EHang and BETA Technologies for electric vertical take-off and landing eVTOL aircraft. In June 2021, she was the first flight engineer to fly BETA’s ALIA eVTOL aircraft, and as of November 2021, sat on the company’s board of directors. Watch Flying High With Martine Rothblatt and Kyle Clark

In September 2018, Martine inaugurated the world’s largest net zero office building site, called the Unisphere, containing 210,000 square feet of space in Silver Spring, Maryland, powered, heated, and cooled completely from on-site sustainable energy technologies. This office building uses 1 MW of solar panels, fifty-two geothermal wells, a quarter mile long earth labyrinth and electrochromic glass to operate with a zero carbon footprint while graphically communicating its net energy status in real time to the building occupants. Read This building’s giant sundial shows how much energy it’s making.

She is the author of books on satellite communications technology: Radiodetermination Satellite Services and Standards, gender freedom: Apartheid of Sex, genomics: Unzipped Genes: Taking Charge of Baby-Making in the New Millennium, xenotransplantation: Your Life or Mine: How Geoethics Can Resolve the Conflict Between Public and Private Interests in Xenotransplantation, and the Middle East peace process: Two Stars for Peace: The Case for Using U.S. Statehood to Achieve Lasting Peace in the Middle East. She coauthored Inside the Minds: The Pharmaceutical Industry: Leading CEOs on Drug Development, Product Differentiation, and the Future of Specialty Pharma. She also cyberscripted and produced one of the first cybermuseums, the World Against Racism Museum.

In 2004, Martine cofounded the Terasem Movement Foundation. Their mission is to promote the geoethical (world ethical) use of nanotechnology for human life extension. They conduct educational programs and support scientific research and development in the areas of cryonics, biotechnology, and cyber consciousness. This foundation is related to the Lifeboat Foundation programs LifePreserver and PersonalityPreserver (which Martine contributed text to).

This charity hosts the Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology and the Annual Colloquium on the Law of Transhuman Persons.

The Terasem Movement Foundation publishes The Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology and The Journal of Personal Cyberconsciousness.

The Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology explores economic, political, social and technological aspects of the developing technology of molecular nanotechnology. This journal invites submissions on controversial topics such as self-replication and governance.

Particularly encouraged are articles relating to neuronano-technology, the use of atomic-size devices to interface with neurons. Geoethical aspects of neuronanotechnology include the impact of its use on others (both those who are interfaced and those who are not), the accessibility of it to all (commencing with those who will benefit most from it), and independent means of monitoring its compliance with widely agreed-upon norms. Possible examples of geoethical neuronanotechnology include rectification of mental illness, knowledge commodification, and consciousness beming.

The Journal of Personal Cyberconsciousness explores the mathematical, physical, engineering (hardware, software, firmware), philosophical, psychological, biological, socioeconomic, and juridical aspects of non-flesh based consciousness, such as could arise from an advanced machine-based computer.

This journal invites submissions on controversial topics such as how consciousness can be ported from a human being into a machine, how consciousness can emerge in a computer and be ported into a nanotechnological or cellular-regenerated body, and how mindware can be developed that enables consciousness to emerge from fragments of someone’s lifetime experiences that have been stored in digital media. Learn more!

Martine also created LifeNaut.com (formally CyBeRev), which is a web-based research project that allows anyone to create a digital backup of their mind and genetic code. (Backup of genetic code is done via cryonics and cell samples.) The ultimate goal of their research project is to explore the transfer of human consciousness to computers/robots and beyond.

Through her blog Mindfiles, Mindware, and Mindclones, she writes about “the coming age of our own cyberconsciousness and techno-immortality” and she started a vlog together with Ulrike Reinhard on the same topic.

The digital backup of your mind is called a MindFile and is a database of personal reflections captured in video, image, audio, and documents about yourself, that can be saved, searched, downloaded, and shared with friends. Each account comes with an interactive avatar that becomes more like you the more you teach and train it to think like you (free).

Their first proof-of-concept model was Bina48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture 48), one of the world’s most advanced social robots based on a composite of information from several people including Bina Rothblatt, cofounder of the Terasem Movement Foundation. She was created using video interview transcripts, laser scanning life mask technology, face recognition, artificial intelligence, and voice recognition technologies. As an “ambassador” for the LifeNaut project, Bina48 is designed to be a social robot that can interact based on information, memories, values, and beliefs collected about an actual person. Bina48 has been featured and interviewed by The New York Times, TedxHabana, and ABC’s The View, among others.

Terasem previously created CyBeRev which was merged to LifeNaut in December 2021. CyBeRev means cybernetic beingness revival. The purpose of the CyBeRev project is to prevent death by preserving sufficient digital information about a person so that recovery remains possible by foreseeable technology.

Learn about Martine’s film that was released in 2009, TransBeMan — Into the Light, a techno-fable set in the near future. The film stars James Remar (Dexter, Sex In The City, The Warriors), Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Goodfellas), and new screen sensation Jane Kim (West 32nd Street) as Mia 2.0, the TransbeMan.

In 2013, Martine was the highest-paid female CEO in America, earning $38 million. As of April 2018, she earned a compensation package worth $37.1 million from United Therapeutics. Read Who’s the top earning CEO in biopharma? and United Therapeutics’ Martine Rothblatt saw a big pay jump in 2017.

Martine has received numerous awards, including several honorary doctorate degrees. In April 2008, she was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society. On May 11, 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ben Gurion University of the Negev in recognition of her accomplishments in satellite communications and biotechnology.

In September 2017, Forbes magazine named Martine one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds of the past century, with special reference to her roles as a “perpetual reinventor, founder of Sirius and United Therapeutics, and creator of PanAmSat.”

On December 5, 2017, North Carolina State University conferred her an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree.

In January 2018, Martine was presented the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest award, in recognition of her creation of Sirius XM satellite radio, advancing organ transplant technology, and having “expanded the way we understand fundamental concepts ranging from communication to gender to the nature of consciousness and mortality.”

On May 16, 2018, Martine and Didi Chuxing President Jean Liu were awarded Doctors of Commercial Science degrees, honoris causa, at NYU’s 186th Commencement at Yankee Stadium.

In 2018, the University of Victoria’s Chair in Transgender Studies, Founder and Academic Director of the Transgender Archives, awarded Martine an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD).

In 2019, Martine was recognized as one of Business Insider’s most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech. Also in 2019, Martine received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, presented by Awards Council member Sir Peter Jackson during the International Achievement Summit in New York City. Visit her Achievement profile.

In October 2021, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) selected her for its highest honor, the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, for her fostering of aviation weather information on the flight deck and of advanced air mobility such as electric helicopters.

Also in October 2021, for the first time, a pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system, a potentially major advance that could eventually help alleviate a dire shortage of human organs for transplant. The procedure done at NYU Langone Health in New York City involved use of a pig whose genes had been altered so that its tissues no longer contained a molecule known to trigger almost immediate rejection. The genetically altered pig, dubbed GalSafe, was developed by United Therapeutics Corp’s Revivicor unit. Read Surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient.

Download the free Arabic and Hebrew Translations of Two Stars for Peace. Watch Martine Rothblatt, Academy Class of 2019, Full Interview, What UCLA Helped Martine Rothblatt Achieve, Moving to an Orbiting Space Settlement in Our Lifetimes, Dr. Martine Rothblatt — The Goal of Technology is the End of Death, Martine Rothblatt: “AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves”, and Flying High With Beta Technologies’ Kyle Clark and Martine Rothblatt of United Therapeutics.

Learn about Terasem Motion InfoCulture’s feature film The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future.

Watch I, The Superwoman, A Career Pivot To Save Lives, and her TED Talk: My daughter, my wife, our robot, and the quest for immortality.

Listen to A Masterclass on Asking Better Questions and Peering Into the Future and Covington Fireside Chat with Dr. Martine Rothblatt

Read From Transgender to Transhuman Blog and Martine Rothblatt and Wife Bina Show Whoopi Goldberg How They Are Changing the World.

Visit her LinkedIn profile, Wikipedia, and her Amazon page. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.