Home country: U.S.A.
On October 4, 2004, former U.S. Navy aviator Brian Binnie piloted the private rocket SpaceShipOne to an altitude of 69.6 miles, winning the US$10 million Ansari X Prize and opening a new era in space exploration.
“I wake up every morning and thank God I live in a country where all of this is possible. Where you have the Yankee ingenuity to roll up your sleeves, get a band of people who believe in something and go for it and make it happen. It doesn't happen anywhere else.”
— Brian Binnie, October 4, 2004, after completing flight 17P
* Brian Binnie served for 21 years in the United States Navy as a naval aviator flying the A-7 Corsair II, A-6 Intruder, F/A-18 Hornet, and AV-8B Harrier II. He has logged over 5,300 hours of flight time in 85 different aircrafts.
* He graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1988.
* Binnie’s educational background includes Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering; Master of Science in Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics from Brown University; Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University.
* On December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight, Binnie piloted the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne, flight 11P, which reached a top speed of Mach 1.2 and a height of 12.9 miles (20.7 km).
* On October 4, 2004, he piloted SpaceShipOne's second Ansari X Prize flight, flight 17P, winning the Ansari X Prize and becoming the 435th person to go into space. His flight, which peaked at 367,442 feet (69.6 miles; 112.0 km), set a winged aircraft altitude record, breaking the old record set by the North American X-15 in 1963.
* Binnie was awarded the second set of Astronaut Wings given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a flight aboard a privately operated commercial spacecraft.
* Shortly following the flight, the Scaled Composites team received a congratulatory call from President George W. Bush. In 2005, the Space Foundation awarded the Space Achievement Award to the team.
* SpaceShipOne achieved a number of important "firsts": first privately-funded spacecraft to exceed Mach 3, first privately-funded manned spacecraft to exceed 100km altitude, and first privately-funded reusable manned spacecraft.
* Binnie also became the first Scot to go into space. In 2006, he received an Honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen.
* In 2014, Binnie joined XCOR Aerospace as senior engineer and test pilot, after working as a test pilot and program business manager for Scaled Composites.