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

Branson's been promising an imminent launch for 10 years, but this time he's super serious.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech Culture Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly

The Virgin Galactic VSS Unity. 

Virgin Galactic

The new space race is well and truly under way. Virgin Galactic founder and CEO Richard Branson says his company will be in space "within weeks."

Speaking to CNBC in Singapore on Tuesday, Branson was also bullish about Virgin Galactic's bid to open up 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 has yet to travel to space.

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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