Virgin Galactic will be in space ‘within weeks,’ says CEO Richard Branson

The Virgin Galactic VSS Unity. 

Virgin Galactic

The new space race is well and truly underway, with Virgin Galactic founder and CEO Richard Branson saying the company will be in space “within weeks”.

Speaking to CNBC in Singapore on Tuesday, Branson was also bullish about the company’s bid to kick off a new frontier of space tourism.

“We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years,” he said.

“We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead.”

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The company was founded in 2004, adding ambitions for commercial space travel alongside Virgin’s existing aviation business. But while the company has been signing up space tourists — some 800 customers have paid $250,000 for a return ticket on Virgin Galactic since the company’s inception — it is yet to travel to space.

But, ever the showman, Branson has been making plenty of promises.

In mid-2008, the CEO predicted a maiden Virgin Galactic voyage within 18 months. Since then, the company has both announced and pushed back potential launch dates, coming out as recently as June to say a launch in 2018 was still on the cards.

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