Brian Binnie
William Brian Binnie is a former United States Navy officer and is one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, the experimental spaceplane
A spaceplane is a vehicle that operates as an aircraft in Earth's atmosphere, as well as a spacecraft when it is in space. It combines features of an aircraft and a spacecraft, which can be thought of as an aircraft that can endure and maneuver in the vacuum of space or likewise a spacecraft that...

 developed by Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites is an aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan and currently owned by Northrop Grumman that is located at the Mojave Spaceport, Mojave, California, United States...



Binnie was born in West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette, Indiana
As of the census of 2010, there were 29,596 people, 12,591 households, and 3,588 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,381.1 people per square mile . The racial makeup of the city was 74.3% White, 17.3% Asian, 2.7% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.03% Pacific...

, where his Scottish father was a professor of physics at Purdue University
Purdue University
Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., is the flagship university of the six-campus Purdue University system. Purdue was founded on May 6, 1869, as a land-grant university when the Indiana General Assembly, taking advantage of the Morrill Act, accepted a donation of land and...

. The family returned to Scotland when Binnie was five, and lived in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 (his father taught at Aberdeen University
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

) and later in Stirling
Stirling is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth...

. When Binnie was a teenager the family moved to Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

Binnie, an alumnus of Brown
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

 and Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 Universities, served for 21 years in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 as a naval aviator
United States Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

 flying the A-7 Corsair II
A-7 Corsair II
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft introduced to replace the United States Navy's Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, initially entering service during the Vietnam War...

, A-6 Intruder
A-6 Intruder
The Grumman A-6 Intruder was an American, twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. In service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder was designed as an all-weather medium attack aircraft to replace the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider...

, F/A-18 Hornet
F/A-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets . Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and...

, and AV-8B Harrier II
AV-8B Harrier II
The McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing ground-attack aircraft. An Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the Harrier II is the final member of the Harrier family that started with the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 in...

. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School
United States Naval Test Pilot School
The United States Naval Test Pilot School , located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and foreign military experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test...

 in 1988. Binnie also copiloted the Atmospheric Test Vehicle of the Rotary Rocket
Rotary Rocket
Rotary Rocket, Inc, was a rocketry company headquartered in a facility at Mojave Airport that developed the Roton concept in the late 1990s as a fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit manned spacecraft. Roton was intended to reduce costs of launching payloads into low earth orbit by a factor of...

. In 2006, he received an Honorary degree from University of Aberdeen.

On December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

' first powered flight, Binnie piloted the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne, flight 11P
SpaceShipOne flight 11P
Flight 11P of SpaceShipOne was its eighth independent flight, its first powered flight, and the first privately-funded manned flight to reach supersonic speeds. It occurred on December 17, 2003....

, which reached a top speed of Mach 1.2 and a height of 20.7 kilometers. On October 4, 2004, he piloted SpaceShipOne's second Ansari X Prize
Ansari X Prize
The Ansari X Prize was a space competition in which the X Prize Foundation offered a US$10,000,000 prize for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks...

 flight, flight 17P
SpaceShipOne flight 17P
Flight 17P of SpaceShipOne was a spaceflight in the Tier One program that took place on October 4, 2004. It was the second competitive flight in the Ansari X Prize competition to demonstrate a non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft, and is hence also referred to as the X2 flight...

, winning the X Prize and becoming the 435th person, and the first citizen of Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, to go into space. His flight, which peaked at 367442 ft (69.6 mi; 112 km), set a winged aircraft altitude record, breaking the old record set by the North American X-15
North American X-15
The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft/spaceplane was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAAF/USAF, NACA/NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and...

 in 1963. It also earned him the second set of Astronaut Wings
Astronaut Badge
The Astronaut Badge is a badge of the United States, awarded to military and civilian pilots who have completed training and performed a successful spaceflight...

 to be given by the FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 for a flight aboard a privately-operated commercial spacecraft.


External links

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