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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Degree for 'first Scot in space'
Brian Binnie
Brian Binnie said he was honoured by the university degree
The first Scotsman to travel in space has returned to his home town of Aberdeen for an honorary degree.

Brian Binnie took charge of Space Ship One in 2004 to become only the second civilian space pilot in history.

He said: "It is extremely rewarding for me to be recognised by the University of Aberdeen. This is where I grew up and nurtured my dreams."

The multi-million pounds development of Space Ship One saw the rocket plane reach a height of about 70 miles.

'Proud occasion'

Mr Binnie is currently working on Virgin boss Richard Branson's attempts to make space tourism a reality.

He had previously joined the United States Navy and qualified for the elite test pilot corps.

The test pilot was receiving a Doctor Honoris Causa (DHC) on Monday.

Mr Binnie, whose father is a former University of Aberdeen physicist, said: "To be able to return with my parents is a proud and fulfilling occasion that gives us all a strong sense of closure and accomplishment."

Binnie stands on SpaceShipOne (AP)
The flight earned Brian Binnie his astronaut wings

SpaceShipOne raced straight up into the sky over the Mojave Desert in California with Mr Binnie at the controls.

Describing his trip into space at the time, he said: "It's a fantastic view; it's a fantastic feeling.

"There is a freedom there and a sense of wonder that - I tell you what - you all need to experience."

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is also to receive an honorary degree from Aberdeen University, on Thursday, for helping multiple sclerosis (MS) research.

Rowling thinks degree is wizard
22 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
'No experiments' for SpaceShipOne
07 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

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