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 X Prize and becoming the 435th person to go into space. His flight, which peaked at 367,442 feet (69.6 mi; 112.0 km), set a winged aircraft altitude record, breaking the old record set by the North American X-15 in 1963. It also earned him the second set of Astronaut Wings to be given by the FAA for a flight aboard a privately operated commercial spacecraft.
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