Virgin Galactic to be in space 'in weeks,' owner Branson says

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at a news conference on March 30 in Las Vegas

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks at a news conference on March 30 in Las Vegas

Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where commercial flights will originate.

Needless to say, Musk is facing legal action for the former, and has received a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the latter. He repeated that learning the art of delegation better would overcome "his one flaw". "He obviously doesn't enjoy it, so (he should) clear the decks and concentrate on the creative side", Branson said.

In an interview with CNBC, Branson said his company was "more than tantalisingly close" to its first landmark flight beyond Earth's atmosphere, stating: "we should be in space within weeks, not months". "He's a wonderfully creative person but he shouldn't be getting very little sleep", the Virgin Group founder told CNBC.

Branson said part of the reason why he himself had such an "enjoyable life and a long life" is due to him finding "wonderful people" to run his companies, only getting involved with the key issues.

Virgin Galactic will take its first trip into space within weeks according to Richard Branson, the firm's billionaire chief and founder.

Virgin Galactic now has about 800 passengers on its roster, all of whom have paid around $250,000 (£190,000) for a return trip to space.

Three companies are leading the charge in commercial space travel as they race to get tourists beyond orbit.

But while Sir Richard believes Musk is "doing fantastically well" in getting cargo into space - including his own auto - the real tussle is between the Virgin boss and Bezos.

Both companies will offer customers a weightless experience that will last just minutes, passing through the imaginary line marking where space begins - either the Karman line, at 100 kilometres (62 miles), or the 50-mile boundary recognised by the US Air Force.

Since then, Virgin Galactic has had several successful test flights, with its space planes safely reaching Mach 2, which is about twice the speed of sound. In 2014, an early version of a Virgin Galactic spacecraft pulled apart and crashed during a test flight over the Mojave Desert, killing a co-pilot, Michael Alsbury.

The reusable New Shepard rocket and spacecraft is meant to carry up to six space tourists, researchers and/or experiments on brief suborbital flights, the company has said.

"He's got to find time for himself".

Even so, these prices put space tourism, at least during its first generation, out of reach for the vast majority of people on Earth.