Richard Branson says he'll put Virgin Galactic in space 'within weeks'

Richard Branson

"We should be in space within weeks, not months".

Branson, the founder and CEO of Virgin Galactic, has been investing in this venture since 2004, but if the comments he made yesterday at the Barclays Asia Forum in Singapore are to be believed, the company is finally on the cusp of entering space.

The two business magnates are competing with Amazon's Jeff Bezos to send the first paying passengers into space, and they will be paying quite a lot - advance customers are shelling out $250,000 per ticket.

Branson added that Musk "needs to learn the art of delegation" and should work to "find a fantastic team of people around him".

"Integrating mindfulness into our everyday lives is just as important as eating well and exercising regularly, and I am so excited to see Virgin Australia deeply embedding mindfulness into the workplace and onboard flights", Branson said.

"I think that learning the art of delegation better would be his one flaw", the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic said of his SpaceX counterpart.

"We should be in space within weeks, not months".

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The company is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions.

But delays and a fatal crash in 2014 prevented Sir Richard's original ambitions.

The program follows a move either this year by Townsville Airport, in far north Queensland, to provide emotional support dogs for nervous travellers. Since then, the company has already enlisted around 800 passengers who paid $250,000 United States dollars each for a return ticket on the Virgin Galactic.

But Sir Richard 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.

Talking to BBC Radio 4 earlier this year, the 68-year-old said he had been undergoing astronaut training in readiness for his first space flight.

Tourists will spend several minutes floating in zero gravity, aboard a spaceship that approaches or passes through the Karman line, the boundary of Earth's atmosphere and space, some 62 miles (100 kilometers) high.

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