Ben Haldeman Wins Top Prize in the Martine Rothblatt Space Settlement in Our Lifetime Competition with his LifeShip Business Plan

Image: Gabriel Rothblatt presents Ben Haldeman first prize in the Rothblatt Space Settlement in Our Lifetime Competition for his winning business plan called LifeShip. Credit: Daniel Fox/NSS.

On Saturday, May 27, the National Space Society selected the first place winner of the Martine Rothblatt Space Settlement in Our Lifetime business plan competition. The annual contest awards three cash prizes to teams or individuals who submit complete business plans that can advance humanity to achieve Ms. Rothblatt’s goal of expanding our species beyond Earth.

Dr. Rothblatt has been a pioneer in satellite communications, founding the Sirius XM radio network in 1990. She later became the chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company devoted to prolonging human life. Her trailblazing work in organ replacement has saved countless lives and will be a key technology in creating sustainable communities in space. Dr. Rothblatt’s vision for space settlement is vast, encompassing the next century of human migration into space.

“The 2023 Rothblatt competition included many impressive entries,” said Dale Skran, COO of the National Space Society. ” NSS is thrilled to be working with Dr. Rothblatt to award prizes of $16,000, $10,000, and $6,000 USD to the three winners. We congratulate the awardees and thank Dr. Rothblatt for her generosity in helping to enable the expansion of the human race beyond Earth.”

Three finalists traveled to Frisco, Texas, to give final presentations at the National Space Society’s 41st annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®) in Frisco, Texas which ran from May 25-28. Each of the competing teams won a cash prize.

First place went to Ben Haldeman for his business plan entitled LifeShip, whose mission will be to spread life throughout the universe through commercializing technology to assist the natural expansion of life, preserving Earth’s biodiversity, and reviving ecosystems and banking life for future generations.

Second place went to Trent Tresch and his team for BONES, which proposed the development of an AI based digital doctor avatar that would provide remote, effective, and efficient medical care for astronauts working and living in extreme off-Earth environments.

Third place was awarded to Carl Greenbaum for the Hermes Lunar Base business plan. The facility, a 24-person lunar base, would provide the delivery of on-orbit construction materials such as silicon, iron, and aluminum, processed from lunar regolith and delivered to cislunar space via a mass driver.

The Space Settlement in Our Lifetime competition is open to anyone, of any age, anywhere on Earth (local laws and restrictions may apply). Those wishing to enter must create a compelling business plan that will help to enable some aspect or increment of space settlement. See more at spacebizplan.nss.org, where two informative presentations by Dr. Rothblatt can be viewed.

The competition has been renewed for 2024 and the deadline for entries will be announced in the coming months, with the final awards being given at the 2024 ISDC in Los Angeles, California, in May 2024.

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