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

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"We should be in space within weeks, not months", Branson told CNBC on Tuesday.

"Soon after that we will send into space people, so we will have a very interesting few months ahead".

Branson is trying to get fare-paying passengers into space, which would be an incredible feat considering Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is attempting to do the same at the moment.

'He should find a fantastic team of people around him and still jump in on all the major issues'.

"I'm proud to say that some of the Virgin companies are doing wonderful work to make sure their staff and customers are well and feel taken care [of]", he said.

However, Sir Richard has not been deterred by Elon Musk's firm, and instead are using SpaceX as a pace setter in the private race to space.

"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.

He reached an agreement with United States 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.

British entrepreneur Richard Branson said his company Virgin Galactic will conduct the first space flight in the coming weeks.

CEO George Whitesides told the Albuquerque Journal this August that while the company no longer gives a timeline for when commercial operations might begin, he said its long-anticipated move to New Mexico was drawing near.

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.

To reach the Karman line, a spaceship has to cruise at an altitude of 100 kilometers above sea level. 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.

When the space tourism service goes into operation, VSS Unity will take two crew members and six paying passengers on thrilling trips to a point widely regarded as the edge of space and where those on board will be able to experience several minutes of weightlessness.

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