Martine Rothblatt

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Martine Rothblatt
Martine Rothblatt.jpg
Martine Rothblatt in 2010.
Born Martin Rothblatt
1954 (age 61–62)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Residence Satellite Beach, Florida[1]
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., J.D, M.B.A)
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Ph.D, 2001)
Occupation Chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics
Religion Terasem Movement Transreligion
Spouse(s) Bina Aspen (m. 1982)[2][3][4]
Children 4

Martine Aliana Rothblatt (born 1954) is an American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. Rothblatt graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a combined law and MBA degree in 1981, then began work in Washington, D.C., first in the field of communications satellite law, and eventually in life sciences projects like the Human Genome Project. She is the founder and Chief executive officer of United Therapeutics and the highest-paid female executive in the United States.[5] She is also the creator of GeoStar and Sirius Radio.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Rothblatt was born Martin Rothblatt in Chicago, Illinois in 1954, to Rosa Lee and Hal Rothblatt, a dentist, to an observant Jewish family. She was raised in a suburb of San Diego, California.[7][8]

Rothblatt left college after two years and traveled throughout Europe, Turkey, Iran, Kenya and the Seychelles. It was at the NASA tracking station in the Seychelles, during the summer of 1974, that she had her epiphany to unite the world via satellite communications. She then returned to University of California, Los Angeles, graduating summa cum laude in communication studies 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. Rothblatt subsequently became an active member of the L5 Society and its Southern California affiliate, Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement (OASIS).

During her four-year law-MBA program, also at UCLA, she published five articles on the law of satellite communications and prepared a business plan for the Hughes Space and Communications Group titled PanAmSat about how satellite spot beam technology could be used to provide communication service to multiple Latin American countries. She also became a regular contributor on legal aspects of space colonization to the OASIS newsletter.[citation needed]


Upon graduating from UCLA in 1981 with a joint MBA/JD degree, Rothblatt was hired by the Washington, D.C., law firm[9] 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. Later that year she was also retained by Gerard K. O'Neill to handle business and regulatory matters for his newly invented satellite navigation technology, known as the Geostar System.[citation needed]

Rothblatt is a regulatory attorney.[10]

In 1984, she was retained by Rene Anselmo, founder of Spanish International Network, to implement her PanAmSat MBA thesis as a new company that would compete with the global telecommunications satellite monopoly, Intelsat. In 1986, she discontinued her astronomy studies and consulting work to become the full-time CEO of Geostar Corporation, under William E. Simon as Chairman. She left Geostar in 1990 to create both WorldSpace and Sirius Satellite Radio. She left Sirius in 1992 and WorldSpace in 1997 to become the full-time Chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation.[11]

Rothblatt is responsible for launching several communications satellite companies, including the first private international spacecom project (PanAmSat, 1984), the first global satellite radio network (WorldSpace, 1990), and the first non-geostationary satellite-to-car broadcasting system (Sirius Satellite Radio, 1990).[citation needed]

As an attorney-entrepreneur, Rothblatt was also responsible for leading the efforts to obtain worldwide approval, via new international treaties, of satellite orbit/spectrum allocations for space-based navigation services (1987) and for direct-to-person satellite radio transmissions (1992). She also led 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).[citation needed]

In the 1994, motivated by her daughter being diagnosed with life-threatening pulmonary hypertension,[12] Rothblatt entered the world of the life sciences by first creating the PPH Cure Foundation and later by founding a medical biotechnology company (United Therapeutics, 1996).[11] At that time she also began studying for a Ph.D. in medical ethics at the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. The degree was granted in June 2001 based upon her dissertation on the conflict between private and public interests in xenotransplantation. This thesis, defended before England's leading bioethicist John Harris, was later published by Ashgate House under the title Your Life or Mine.[citation needed] In 2013, Rothblatt was the highest-paid female CEO in America, earning $38 million.[13] Rothblatt received a total compensation of $31,581,896 in 2014. According to the "annual collaborative report" from Equilar and The New York Times, Hoppenot ranked 24th in the list of "200 highest-paid CEOs of large publicly traded companies"and fourth in the list of biopharmaceutical executives with the highest total compensation.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Martine Rothblatt with Bina receiving 2010 Vicki Sexual Freedom Award

In 1982, Rothblatt married Bina Aspen, a realtor from Compton, California.[2][3][4][15][16] They have four children together. Rothblatt and Aspen legally adopted one another's children.[17][18] Prior to meeting Bina, Rothblatt had a child with a Kenyan woman.[citation needed]

In 1994, at age 40, she came out as transgender[19] and changed her name to Martine Aliana Rothblatt. She has since become a vocal advocate for transgender rights.

Social activism[edit]

In 2004, Rothblatt launched the Terasem Movement, a transhumanist school of thought focused on promoting joy, diversity, and the prospect of technological immortality via mind uploading and geoethical nanotechnology. Through a charitable foundation, leaders of this school convene publicly accessible symposia, publish explanatory analyses, conduct demonstration projects, issue grants, and encourage public awareness and adherence to Terasem values and goals. The movement maintains a "Terasem Island" on the Internet-based virtual world Second Life, which is currently composed of two sims,[20] which was constructed by the E-Spaces company.

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

Rothblatt contributed $258,000 to SpacePAC, a super PAC that supported her son, Gabriel, who was running as a Democrat in Florida's 8th congressional district[21] but lost.[22] Gabriel is a pastor for the Terasem Movement.[23][24][25][26]


In a January 4, 2008 blog post titled Marketing Transhumanism, lawyer and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith ridiculed the feasibility of the Terasem Movement Foundation's claims to offer a free service that can "preserve one's individual consciousness so that it remains viable for possible uploading with consciousness software into a cellular regenerated or bionanotechnological body by future medicine and technology". Smith facetiously questioned whether this offer would be followed by the sale of "longevity products".[27]

In an August 16, 2009 blog post titled The "Imagination" of a Robot Cultist, rhetorician and technocritic Dale Carrico harshly criticized Rothblatt's writings for promoting what he argues to be the pseudoscience of mind uploading and the techno-utopianism of the Californian Ideology.[28] In a February 28, 2010 blog post titled More Serious Futurology from Transhumanist Martine Rothblatt, Carrico criticized Rothblatt's claims about digital technology and "mindclones" as being nothing more than wishful thinking.[29] In a June 5, 2010 blog post titled Rothblatt's Artificial Imbecillence, Carrico criticized Rothblatt for caring more about rights of "virtual, uploaded persons"—who he argues are neither real nor possible—more than the rights of actual human persons and some nonhuman persons, such as great apes and dolphins.[30]

In a July 4, 2010 New York Times article titled Making Friends with a Robot Named Bina48, journalist Amy Harmon described as frustrating but occasionally thrilling her conversation with one of "humanity's first cybernetic companions," BINA48, created by Rothblatt and Hanson Robotics. She concluded it was "not that different from interviewing certain flesh and blood subjects."[31]



Rothblatt is the executive producer of the following films:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scott Powers (August 18, 2014). "Democratic candidate Gabriel Rothblatt believes in technology and Terasem". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 22, 2014. The super PAC was founded and funded by his parents, Sirius satellite radio founder Martine and Bina Rothblatt of Satellite Beach. 
  2. ^ a b Lisa Miller (September 7, 2014). "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male.". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Bina started her conversion to Judaism. 
  3. ^ a b "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male. -- New York Magazine". 
  4. ^ a b Anna Webber. "New York Magazine & The Cut Fashion Week Party". Getty Images. 
  5. ^ Robert Hackett (September 12, 2014). "Highest-paid female executive seeks immortality—digitally". Fortune. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Martine Rothblatt, the founder of Sirius satellite radio and pharmaceutical company United Therapeutics, was the highest paid female executive in America last year with total earnings of $38 million. 
  6. ^ "Transgender CEO who overcomes obstacles takes on limits of life". September 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ Lisa Miller (September 7, 2014). "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male.". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Martin Rothblatt was raised by observant Jewish parents in a working-class suburb of San Diego; his father was a dentist. His mother, Rosa Lee, says she always believed her first child was destined for greatness. 
  8. ^ Martine Aliana Rothblatt (May 1997). "Unzipped Genes: Taking Charge of Baby-making in the New Millennium". pp. v. Retrieved November 22, 2014. To my parents Hal and Rosa Lee 
  9. ^ "Martine A Rothblatt, Attorney". Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  10. ^ Mark Lewyn (September 1996). "Space Case". Wired Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. The Haigs were accompanied by businesswoman Martine Rothblatt, 41, their new partner and a successful regulatory attorney in Washington, DC, for more than a decade. 
  11. ^ a b Herper, Matthew (April 22, 2010). "From Satellites To Pharmaceuticals". Forbes. Retrieved September 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ Moukheiber, Zina (1 July 2002). "Jeni's Oil". Forbes. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Samantha Cowan (September 8, 2014). "America’s Highest-Paid Female CEO Is Transgender". TakePart. 
  14. ^ Nicole Gray (29 May 2015), "Biopharma execs have big presence among top-paid CEOs", BioPharma Dive, retrieved 19 November 2015 
  15. ^ Lisa Miller (September 7, 2014). "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male.". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. They were from different worlds: Martin was a white Jewish man on his way to getting a J.D.-M.B.A.; Bina, who is African-American, grew up in Compton and was working as a real-estate agent. 
  16. ^ "Beverlee Claire Prator". 
  17. ^ Lisa Miller (September 7, 2014). "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male.". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. But they had much in common—starting with the fact that they were both single parents. Martin had met a woman in Kenya on his way home from the Seychelles; the relationship had not worked out, but had produced a son, Eli, who was 3. Bina’s daughter, Sunee, was about the same age. 
  18. ^ Lisa Miller (September 7, 2014). "Martine Rothblatt Is the Highest-Paid Female CEO in America. She Was Also Born Male.". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Soon they were living in the suburbs of Washington, in an apartment that was way too small. It was a hectic, happy time. The Rothblatts, now married, legally adopted each other's children, and would soon have two more. 
  19. ^ "Martine Rothblatt, Trans CEO, Speaks Out On Controversial New York Magazine Cover". The Huffington Post. September 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Terasem". 
  21. ^ "The Custom-Made ‘Super PAC’". New York Times. August 3, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  22. ^ Ledyard King (November 4, 2014). "Bill Posey easily wins fourth term". Florida Today. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Rothblatt also was helped by $258,000 spent on signs and billboards by "Space PAC," a super PAC solely funded by his parent, Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and CEO of the Maryland-based biotech firm, United Therapeutics. 
  23. ^ Jessica Roy (April 17, 2014). "The Rapture of the Nerds". Time Magazine. Gabriel Rothblatt, a pastor at Terasem, photographed at the Terasem ashram in Melbourne Beach, Florida April 7, 2014 
  24. ^ "The Terasem Faith religion that uses 'mindfiles' to store souls". Daily Mail. April 19, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Gabriel Rothblatt, a pastor at Terasem and son of creators Bina and Martine Rothblatt, was working as the manager of a pizza restaurant until 2011 and is now running for Congress 
  25. ^ Jessica Roy (April 17, 2014). "The Rapture of the Nerds". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2014. Until 2011, Gabriel was a manager at a local pizza restaurant. Now, he spends most of his time running for Congress in a longshot campaign to get on the Democratic ballot to challenge Rep. Bill Posey this fall. 
  26. ^ "On Politics: Innocent question creates a bit of a stir". Florida Today. October 17, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014. That led Posey to say that he thought he saw something in Rothblatt's candidate financial disclosure statements indicating Rothblatt was a pastor and community organizer. 
  27. ^ Smith, Wesley J. (January 4, 2008). "Marketing Transhumanism". National Review. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  28. ^ Carrico, Dale (August 16, 2009). "The "Imagination" of a Robot Cultist". Amor Mundi. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  29. ^ Carrico, Dale (February 28, 2010). "More Serious Futurology from Transhumanist Martine Rothblatt". Amor Mundi. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  30. ^ Carrico, Dale (June 5, 2010). "Martine Rothblatt's Artificial Imbecillence". Amor Mundi. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  31. ^ Harmon, Amy (July 4, 2010). "Making Friends With a Robot Named Bina48". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 

External links[edit]