Branson says Virgin Galactic to launch space flight 'within weeks'

Branson says Virgin Galactic to launch space flight 'within weeks'

Branson says Virgin Galactic to launch space flight 'within weeks'

Virgin Spaceship Unity and Virgin Mothership Eve take to the skies on its first captive carry flight in 2016.

He reached an agreement with USA regulators last month to step down as Tesla chair and pay a $20 million (£15 million) fine for what the Securities and Exchange Commission called "false and misleading" claims.

'I think that learning the art of delegation better would be his one flaw'. "He obviously doesn't enjoy it, so (he should) clear the decks and concentrate on the creative side", Branson said.

But now, Branson says, "We should be in space within weeks, not months". In April, Bob Smith, the head of Jeff Bezos's Blue Origins space company, told CNBC the firm still hoped to send tourists to the edge of space by the end of the year.

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.

He founded the commercial spaceflight company in 2004.

Virgin Galactic aims to launch the first commercial passenger flight into space, and is in tough competition with US space company Blue Origin.

But Virgin boss Richard Branson has come out with some bullish words on Galactic's progress.

Musk has reached dizzying heights with his numerous private space deliveries to the International Space Station at an altitude of around 1.4 million feet (408,000 metres), but is yet to fly any of his planned passenger-carrying craft. Asked in the interview whether he was confident enough people would pay for tickets, he told CNBC: "If I have a room full of 10 people, eight out of 10 would love to go to space if they could afford it". That would happen, he said, once the rocket safely reaches suborbit in repeated flight demonstrations.

The business mogul has a long history of underestimating the time it takes his firm to get test flights into the air, and the company has repeatedly missed his lofty targets.

The ultimate aim for Virgin and Sir Richard is to offer affordable, commercial travel away from Earth.

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. Right now the price of a Virgin Galactic ticket is nearly $250,000-and it won't be dropping anytime soon.

For comparison, astronauts at the orbiting International Space Station fly some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

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