But Virgin Galactic has serious competition in the form of Blue Origin, a space company owned by another billionaire entrepreneur, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. In the meantime, test flights are being launched in California's Mojave Desert.
Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where commercial flights will originate.
"So we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead,"he said". The entire flight should take around 2.5 hours, though only a few minutes will actually be spent in suborbital space.
The 68-year-old, who is also chairman of Virgin Galactic, remains convinced that the billions of dollars that have been pumped into the research, development and testing of the spaceships is a sound investment. "And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years", the Virgin founder and CEO told CNBC on Tuesday.More news: Second Suspect Named in UK Nerve Agent Poisoning Case
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"(Prices) are unlikely to ever come down to a point where millions are able to go to space, but we can try to at least bring it down to where tens of thousands of people can become astronauts.
Talking to the BBC at that time, Branson said: "I think we're both neck and neck as to who will put people into space first". 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.
Virgin Galactic has so far this year completed three successful rocket-powered test flights of its latest SpaceShipTwo plane, VSS Unity, but the vehicle has yet to be tested at the target altitude of 62 miles. Right now the price of a Virgin Galactic ticket is nearly $250,000-and it won't be dropping anytime soon. The upper atmosphere is generally regarded to give way to space at an altitude of 62 miles (100km), almost twice the altitude achieved in the July test flight.
SpaceX has recently announced plans to take a passenger on a shuttle mission around the Moon in 2023 in a rocket journey expected to last about six days. This was a positive step forward after Virgin Galactic's 2014 fatal crash that killed test pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold.