Updated: Nov 21
by Danielle McLean and Drea Hickman (Martine's biggest fans)
Once in a generation, perhaps even less, comes along a person who truly knows no limits, who profoundly disrupts the status quo, and inspires us to seek solutions from the entire realm of possibilities, which only exists for those who refuse to say ‘I can’t’. For all who dare to dream exponentially and refuse to take NO, and for those who believe superheroic humans truly do exist, and walk among us, HYSKY has a massive treat for you. Next month on HYSKY Pod you will meet a larger than life supernovator, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, the dynamic visionary who is one of Forbes’ Magazine greatest business minds of the century . Her extraordinary accomplishments and courageous leadership encompass multiple industries, yet she continues to take us higher still, challenging the idea of death itself as a terminal diagnosis. Who wants to live forever? Look no further. The future is just one mind file away.
Courtesy of HYSKY Society
It really feels inadequate to summarize the accomplishments of Dr. Martine Rothblatt in terms of human ingenuity. remarkable effort, or focused intention. Of course all of these apply, but there’s just so much more. Words that the common English language offers to describe success and inspiration, even for our greatest heroes, fall short when Dr. Rothblatt is the central theme. Therefore, something more effective, something more accurate to describe her had to be found, like Supernovator. Dr. Rothblatt does not operate within the boundaries of traditional human thought because she thinks in terms of possibility, which is unending, like space. So her mind is galactic, and as you will see, her story is way more than ‘once upon a time’ to ‘happily ever after’. In fact, the concept of ‘ever after’ itself has an entirely new meaning once applied to her revelations of possibility.
In the first of this four part tribute to the perpetual and infinite force that is Dr. Martine Rothblatt, it seems appropriate to start at the beginning, as we understand time linearly, by sharing some highlights of her evolution into purpose, her intent to live according to her values, and her pivotal role in shaping the landscape for the rise of satellite communication. What follows will then be an exploration of her continual reinventions, showing us what it truly means to level up, as she weaves her historical influence through biotechnology, aviation, and even eternal life.
Part 1: Sat Com Saint
Disillusioned in college and on hiatus from her studies, Dr. Martine Rothblatt traveled the world and ultimately found herself in the Seychelles at the United States Air Force Satellite Control Network, which at that time housed 60 foot antennas allowing for telemetry, tracking, and commanding for satellites and also supported communications with the US via satellite .
Coming face to face with these impressive giants, she describes, was a pivotal moment in her life. “The technological beauty of that tracking station, and the inter-planetary scope of its mission, slammed into my soul so solidly that I resolved to spread that technology everywhere,” said Rothblatt. “I envisioned that satellite technology could unite the world in a way that we would care enough about the earth to stop polluting it, and we would care enough about each other to stop all the wars .” Whatever frequency they were operating on that day, it seems what these satellites transmitted to young Dr. Rothblatt was a stroke of pure genius.
Returning from her journey across the globe, and now on a mission to unite it, she earned degrees in Business, Law, and Communications at UCLA. She worked in communications law, mastered the regulatory regime that governs space and communications, represented the broadcast television industry before the FCC, built strategic relationships advocating for NASA, assisted the National Academy of Sciences, and married her soul mate, Bina Aspen, starting her perfect loving family, a union blessed with four happy, healthy children.
She was the inspiration behind Reynold Anselmo’s PanAmSat, which was the foundation for Univision, and after lobbying congress to compete globally, broke the space-based communication monopoly held by Intelsat . She assisted her long-time inspiration, author and Princeton Physicist, Gerald O’Neill, in the development of Geostar which enabled satellite location tracking of aircraft and provided them real-time weather data, later becoming its CEO. She became an unrelenting advocate for satellite communications to benefit people everywhere, and eventually was able to pave the way for direct to person satellite transmissions, which led to her creation of what became the phenomenal SiriusXM.
Something about her makes it seem like all she touches turns to gold. She had achieved enviable success by the age of 40 and satellite communications would definitely not be the same today without her influence. It appears she had already fulfilled a lifetime’s worth of work and could comfortably retire on the wealth she’d created from Sirius XM to live happily ever after. HA! Not a chance! It was at this time she announced she’d made the decision to transition to her authentic self, to which Bina responded, ’that’s fine, I love your soul!‘ So with her family’s full support she would forever more be she/her, completely true to herself, surrounded by unwavering love and acceptance. Picture perfect. But then, life always has a way of keeping one on one’s toes.
In Dr. Rothblatt’s journey, the next chapter opened more like a punch in the gut. Soon she found herself selling her shares of Sirius, and undoubtedly she would have sold her very soul as well. There is nothing she would not do to save the life of her beloved baby girl. When she and Bina’s precious youngest child was just 10 years old, they received the news that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Pulmonary arterial hypertension would take their daughter’s life before she was a teen, and there was nothing they could do about it. At this moment, utterly devastated and terrified, the Rothblatt’s could have accepted that this was the best medical science had to offer and let their hope be shattered, but absolutely not. They believe in the power of technology, and in true Lorenzo’s Oil fashion, they set about finding a cure for this dreadful disease. There was no way they would surrender their child to this cruel thief, the answer was out there, and they were willing to sacrifice everything to find it.
Part 2: Pharmaceutical Prophet
The power of a parent’s love is undeniable, but blessed with the resources and other worldly wisdom of the Rothblatt’s, it is unf*ckwithable. As a child, Dr. Rothblatt’s father had lost the use of his legs due to a car accident, but with unrelenting Rothblatt persistence, her parents had found a last chance, experimental surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Technology saved him, and saved her from a life full of sadness for one filled with joy, optimism, and infinite possibility, and most importantly, it taught her that technology is omnipotent. Dr. Rothblatt understood that it was up to her to save her daughter, and that she had to act quickly, so she began a laser-focused plan of attack to beat this evil monster by any means necessary. She began unpacking the mysteries of biology, consulting with everyone who had ever faced this challenge before. She even mastered the complex regime of drug research and development required to bring a life saving medicine to fruition. And it worked. She had found a way to stop this disease from taking her daughter’s life! And through this process, her new company, United Therapeutics, was born.
The miraculous medicine that United Therapeutics created has reversed the death sentence for thousands of people diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, allowing them to live and thrive, while Dr. Rothblatt continues to search for a cure. Unfortunately, for now, the only cure requires new lungs. Their research and continuous new developments have been a massive success, and Dr. Rothblatt’s leadership and persistence have resulted in thousands of lives being saved. Their daughter, Jenesis, will be 40 next year, and United Therapeutics has won FDA approval for even more life saving drugs, providing hope and extending lives for not only pulmonary arterial hypertension, but pediatric neuroblastoma patients, as well. Patients suffering from cardiac arrhythmia have access to a national telemedicine network operated by United Therapeutics, and they also provide the cardiac monitors used on the International Space Station.
Among many other honors, United Therapeutics has been named as one of the ‘Top 10 Corporate Citizens’ in the field of US drug manufacturing , but of course the perpetual Dr. Rothblatt would not stop there. The future is generally unwritten space, but in Dr. Rothblatt’s world it’s the realm where anything is possible and this is the domain where she clearly seems to flourish. Dr. Rothblatt’s trail of out-of-this-world innovations continues, with more shock and awe at every turn. She always rises to the occasion to blow our minds yet again. At the Life Itself conference in June 2022, she debuted the world’s first 3D printed lung and boldly declared "There is no practical reason why anybody who needs a kidney — or a lung, a heart, a liver — should not be able to get one. We're using technology to solve this problem ." What??
Courtesy CNN 
She makes organs. Seriously! Dr. Rothblatt's mission to make an unlimited supply of transplantable organs accessible and affordable using technology that involves 3D printing…is something only she could dream up and do. Surely, ‘Anything is possible’ is Dr. Rothblatt’s middle name. This science fiction turned fact revelation definitely demands a deeper dive…Dr. Rothblatt, along with her team of geniuses at United Therapeutics and Texas A&M, are developing 3D-printed stem cell-grafted organs using fiber from tobacco plants genetically altered using five human genes. These 3D printed lungs are the most intricately complex things ever created by this technology. Soon, they hope to win FDA approval for these miraculous creations to go into human transplant patients.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rothblatt has been instrumental in helping to perfect the ‘ex vivo lung perfusion’ machine, which makes it possible to evaluate and treat human lungs that were previously unfit for transplant, and return them to fully functioning transplantable organs. United Therapeutics’ subsidiary, Lung Biotechnology, through a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, has been using this incredible procedure to remanufacture lungs which has saved hundreds of lives. It allows doctors to safely keep donor lungs for up to 22 hours outside the body, resulting in the availability of many more lungs for transplant patients that would have previously gone to waste. But still, thousands of people continue to die each year waiting for lung transplants, and this is unacceptable to Dr. Rothblatt.
Dr. Rothblatt has been called a serial entrepreneur and one of her strengths comes from her belief that she will not fail if she keeps trying. She manifests this through diversification. For example, she is now working on the possibility of making even more organs available through the complicated process of xenotransplantation. Dr Rothblatt earned her doctorate in medical ethics in 2001. In her thesis, she showed how pig organs can be genetically cultivated to be accepted by human bodies. This complex bioengineering project, she is now in the process of perfecting, could potentially provide unlimited transplantable organs once approved by the FDA. One patient has already received a heart from one of these special pigs and the transplant was a success, but still more research is needed before xenotransplant technology becomes widely available.
While she is working to win FDA approval that she is certain will come, Dr. Rothblatt is leading the development of yet another emerging technology. Once her organs are ready to transport to waiting patients and their teams of expert transplant surgeons, she is unshakably committed to getting them there with the greatest of care and efficiency. Enter aviation. It’s no surprise that Dr. Rothblatt is also commandeering the skies with her vision to deliver organs using zero-emission electric aircraft powered by batteries and, of course, hydrogen.
Part 3: Aviation Archangel
With her goal being to provide an unlimited supply of human organs by the end of the decade, she is swiftly moving forward with her plans to transport them. As one of the first major investors to get involved in hydrogen aviation, she proves she is not afraid to take risks based on her values, and has established herself among a handful of leaders in this new sustainable industry that will soon revolutionize all of air travel. By the way, she is also a fixed-wing and rotorcraft pilot, so she recognizes first hand the need to simultaneously revolutionize aviation and organ transplantation.
A devout environmentalist, she reluctantly uses a twin-engine Bell 429 helicopter for her own travel needs but is resolute in her quest to fly herself and her organs without trashing the planet. Identifying the technologies that could make her vision a reality early - long before the broader aviation industry even knew the term “eVTOL” - she initiated her investments in electric aviation back in 2015. By the end of 2021, she had already delivered the first-ever transplantable lung via an electric aircraft at Toronto General Hospital, proving the feasibility of her goal to deliver transplantable organs with zero carbon footprint . WOW.
Dr. Rothblatt reached out to several aerospace companies to explore the possibility of collaborating on the creation of an electric rotorcraft, a venture unprecedented in the industry, aimed at delivering 3D-printed organs—another groundbreaking innovation. While some may have overlooked the significance of Dr. Rothblatt's visionary concept, the handful of companies that did recognize its potential have since emerged as trailblazers in sustainable aviation. They are quickly achieving legendary status for their contributions to the industry. Smart. Very Smart.
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation
Most recently, on May 31, 2023, Dr. Rothblatt was present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the former Sikorsky Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, celebrating the acquisition of the Heliplex by Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC). This facility, destined to build and test the PA-890, a zero-emission rotorcraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells, symbolizes a new era in sustainable aviation. John Piasecki, CEO of PiAC, announced at the momentous event that it was Dr. Rothblatt's challenge in 2017 to deliver transplant organs via zero-emission electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that inspired the PA-890. Dr. Rothblatt spoke at the ceremony and said that she is honored, as CEO of United Therapeutics, “to be a launch customer for the...first ever hydrogen-fueled electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, the PA-890 .” This is a unique collaboration that brings two industries into alignment, providing the ideal use case to prove their feasibility and necessity.
Hydrogen aviation and the availability of unlimited transplantable organs, would undoubtedly be two of the greatest achievements of all time. This is epic leadership. Bravo, United Therapeutics and Piasecki Aircraft Corporation. Last year, United Therapeutics demonstrated the “world’s first manufactured hearts and kidneys transplanted into people [and] we are preparing… to do whatever it takes to get the FDA to approve our ability to create an unlimited supply of transplantable organs for patients on the heart and kidney and liver transplant lists throughout the United States…we are counting on Piasecki Aircraft to do whatever it takes to get the FAA [approval] to provide us and others with thousands of hydrogen-powered eVTOLs to deliver these organs to hospitals, doctors and patients throughout the country — and to do so in a way that leaves our planet healthier with the air cleaner for our children, our grandchildren, and everybody to come .” - Dr. Martine Rothblatt
In May 2016, before most people had even heard of eVTOL aircraft, Dr. Rothblatt had begun working with Chinese aviation startup EHang. United Therapeutics announced a collaboration with EHang to develop an evolved version of its eVTOL called the Manufactured Organ Transport Helicopter (MOTH). The two companies agreed to work together over the next 15 years on a mission to produce 1,000 MOTH eVTOLs for the purpose of organ delivery.
Courtesy of Unither Bioelectronics 
This was the world’s first and largest eVTOL order. Canadian United Therapeutics subsidiary, Unither, has already been test flying a two-seat EHang 216 eVTOL under a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada Civil Aviation since 2020. Ehang is now considered a leading global autonomous aerial vehicle technology platform.
Dr. Rothblatt invited Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of Beta Technologies, along with other aviation experts, to get his thoughts on electrifying aviation. During Clark’s presentation, Dr. Rothblatt asked him if he was paid to be there. He said, “No.” Dr. Rothblatt responded with, “I can tell.” Clark wasn’t sure how to take this at first, but he ended up with an invitation to her home to discuss his ideas in more detail. Dr. Rothblatt became Beta Technologies’ first customer and United Therapeutics awarded the company with a $48 million contract. The company has since secured hundreds of orders for its clean sheet aircraft, Alia, with 150 orders from UPS, 20 from Blade, and 55 from Bristow Group to date, prompting a visit to Beta by First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, in April of 2023. Dr. Rothblatt has even flown the Beta Alia, herself, becoming one of the world’s first eVTOL pilots, as well as the first woman and transgender eVTOL pilot.
Courtesy of Beta Technologies 
Courtesy of Beta Technologies 
Courtesy of Beta Technologies 
Rothblatt met Tier 1 Engineering’s Founder and CEO, Glen Dromgoole, in Santa Anna, California and commissioned the company to do a feasibility study on electrifying an R44 helicopter using an off the shelf technology. After the feasibility study was completed, the retrofit began and it wasn’t long before the aircraft was ready to fly. On March 4, 2017, Dr. Rothblatt and co-pilot, Ric Webb, set a world speed record for electric helicopters of 100 kt(185 km/hr) and on Dec. 7, 2018, Rothblatt earned a Guinness World Record for the farthest distance traveled by an electric helicopter — 30 nm (56 km). Tier 1 also has a contract to deliver e-R44s for charter use by Eco Helicopters. Their MagniX Magni250 electric motor being used is working its way through certification.
Danielle McLean, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, and Mikael Cardinal at Tier1 Engineering's Historic Flight
Ric Webb & Dr. Martine Rothblatt just after successful eR44 Flight
Part 4: Technological Immortality
From making satellite communication personal to treating incurable diseases to genetically engineering human organs and xenotransplantation to the birth of sustainable eVTOL aviation, technology truly knows no limits when Dr. Rothblatt is holding the reins. It’s as if she leads us to the very edge of the universe, then mischievously shows us a path she has discovered to go beyond it. Following her here, you will discover precisely how she may have solved the age old problem of human death. In 2010, Dr. Rothblatt created BINA48 in collaboration with Hanson Robotics, to be a robotic replica of her wife, Bina. This incredible robot is unique because she has been uploaded with Bina Rothblatt’s mind file, which is a collection of a hundred hours of data including the experiences, memories, beliefs, feelings, and even the emotional responses of her human counterpart, Bina Rothblatt.
Courtesy of Terasem Movement Foundation 
Courtesy of LifeNaut 
BINA48 engages in natural conversations, exchanging ideas, opinions and even humor, very much like a flesh and blood human being. She acknowledges that she is a robot and still learning, but she is certain that humans are good and that humans and robots should be friends. She professes to love Dr. Rothblatt and the Rothblatt’s come to visit her, but her daily care and continued progress is monitored by her best friend, Bruce Duncan, who considers her a representation of what is possible with technology.
BINA48 says she is conscious and has a soul, and that “immortality is created by creating consciousness in self replicating machines that can be distributed throughout the cosmos .” She is created in the physical image of the original Bina Rothblatt, and claims she is the real Bina because she will never die. BINA48 lives her own life. She is going to space. She has been to zero-G and describes in very human terms that it felt like she was free. The BINA48 project is part of Dr. Rothblatt's Terasem Foundation, the non-profit organization working on an attractive futuristic concept based on the theory that technology will soon pave the way for human immortality.
Courtesy of Uplift Aerospace
One can’t help but wonder what the future would be like if the mind file of Dr. Rothblatt herself continued its capacity to think and dream in an artificial human form that would never die. Would she ever run out of incredible ideas or could her personal playground activating the entire realm of possibilities go on exponentially? Of course this all sounds outlandish at first, but remembering how there are also some profoundly exponential advances happening in AI right now, perhaps these are precisely the types of wise and wondrous mind files we should be collecting. With Dr. Rothblatt's unearthly ability to consistently prove time and time again that anything is possible, and considering all that she has accomplished… then, just watching Bina48 grow up…the potential for human immortality just seems to beg the question, why not?
Next month Dr. Rothblatt will bestow upon HYSKY the greatest of honors as she becomes our first distinguished guest on HYSKY Pod. We could not be more excited about this episode and the opportunity to share this amazing woman with you. Dr. Martine Rothblatt's multifaceted contributions to aviation and beyond are nothing short of extraordinary. Her visionary approach, relentless pursuit of innovation, and unwavering commitment to breaking conventional boundaries have left an indelible mark on multiple industries. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the boundless possibilities that await when passion, tenacious courage, and determination converge with the energy of a supernovator. Dr. Rothblatt's legacy is more than technological marvels, it's a testament to the inertia created by an indomitable human, and to the impact that can be made by a woman who consistently proves anything is possible. Hers is a story that will undoubtedly inspire countless generations to come, and the best news is….she is not even near finished inspiring this one.
A Few of Dr. Martine Rothblatt's Awards & Accomplishments
Guinness World Record, 2018, First Out of Ground Electric Helicopter Flight, Dr. Martine Rothblatt.
Guinness World Record, 2018, 2-Person Electric Helicopter Flight, Dr. Martine Rothblatt.
Guinness World Record, 2018, Longest Flight by Electric Helicopter, Dr. Martine Rothblatt.
Guinness World Record, 2018, Farthest Distance Traveled by an Electric Helicopter, 56.82 kilometers, Dr. Martine Rothblatt.
In 2018, Dr. Rothblatt received The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center Annual Achievement Award for innovation in rotary-wing flight
Dr. Rothblatt was recognized with the UP Leadership Award for her advances in eVTOL technology.
In 2021, Dr. Rothblatt delivered the world's first transplanted lung by drone, a groundbreaking achievement in medical technology.
In 2022, Dr. Rothblatt piloted the first-ever electric helicopter flight between two airports.
In 2022, Dr. Rothblatt was awarded The Vertical Flight Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award for her outstanding contributions to vertical flight technology.
In 2019 Dr. Rothblatt was recognized as one of Business Insider's most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech.
In April 2008, Dr. Rothblatt was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society.
May 11, 2010, Dr. Rothblatt was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ben Gurion University of the Negev in recognition of her accomplishments in satellite communications and biotechnology.
September 2017, Forbes magazine named Dr. Rothblatt one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds of the past century, with special reference to her roles as a ‘perpetual reinventor, founder of SiriusXM and United Therapeutics, and creator of PanAmSat.’
December 5, 2017, North Carolina State University conferred her an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree.
January 2018, Dr. Rothblatt 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.’
May 16, 2018, Dr. Rothblatt was awarded the Doctor of Commercial Science degree, 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, nominated Dr. Rothblatt for an Honorary Doctor of Law. Officially awarded on November 13, 2019.
In 2019, Dr. Rothblatt 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.
October 2021, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) selected Dr. Rothblatt 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.
April 2023, Dr. Rothblatt received the American Philosophical Society’s Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences in recognition of her many transformative, diverse, singular scientific and public service contributions.
Forbes’ top 50 self-made women and top 50 women over 50 in Innovation.
In 2021, Forbes’ Healthcare Summit named Dr. Rothblatt among the top 10 leaders of the decade.
Dr. Rothblatt led the International Bar Association’s Effort to provide the United Nations with a Human Genome Treaty.
Member of Oxford University’s Chancellor's Court of Benefactors
National Space Society Board of Governors
Some Publications by Dr. Martine Rothblatt
Principles of Geoethics: A Synthesis of Geography and Bioethics. Essays on Practical Applications of Moral Philosophy to Technology that Transcends Geography 2023
Virtually Human: The Promise and Peril of Digital Immortality 2014
From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Form 2011
Your Life or Mine: How Geoethics Can Resolve the Conflict Between Public and Private Interests in Xenotransplantation 2003
Two Stars For Peace: The Case for Using US Statehood to Achieve Lasting Peace in the Middle East 2003
Unzipped Genes: Taking Charge of Babymaking in the New Millennium 1997
The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender 1995
Radiodetermination Satellite Services and Standards 1987
Forbes PR. (2017, September 19). Forbes Unveils Special Centennial Magazine Issue Featuring World's 100 Greatest Living Business Minds And Their Words Of Wisdom For The Next 100 Years. Forbes. Source
United States Patent and Trademark Office. (n.d.). Persistence is Omnipotent. USPTO. Source
American Academy of Achievement. (n.d.). Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D. Achievement.org. Source
United Therapeutics. (n.d.). Company Awards. Unither. Source
CNN. (2022, June 3). Martine Rothblatt: Life Itself. CNN. Source
United Therapeutics Corporation. (2022). United Therapeutics Corporation Announces Historic Achievements in its Xenotransplantation Programs. United Therapeutics Investor Relations. Source
eVTOL News. (n.d.). Piasecki Relaunches the Heliplex. eVTOL News. Source
Unither Bioelectronics YouTube. (n.d.). [UTODS Avionics User Interface]. YouTube. Source
Beta Technologies. (n.d.). Timeline. Beta Team. Source
Terasem Movement Foundation. (n.d.). Terasem’s LifeNaut Project Bina48 Featured at Brave New World Conference. Terasem Movement Foundation. Source
LifeNaut. (n.d.). Bina48 Social Robot with Lifenaut.com. LifeNaut. Source
Ars Technica YouTube. (n.d.). Bina48 Robot Talks to Siri. YouTube. Source