Sir Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will be in space "within weeks".

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic

The project's founder and CEO has insisted it won't take much longer for the company - which was founded in 2004 to develop commercial space travel - to put people in space in a matter of months.

Speaking to CNBC, Branson said: "We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years.

"We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead."

Although the company has been signing up potential space tourists - around 800 customers have forked out $250,000 for a return ticket since the firm's inception - it's still yet to actually travel to space.

However, Branson has continued to make promises regarding the timeline, including in 2008 when he predicted a maiden voyage within 18 months.

Over the past decade, the company has announced nd pushed back potential launch dates, and as recently as June this year it said a 2018 launch was still on the cards.

Asked if he had any concerns about demand from consumers regarding fare-paying flights into space, Branson has insisted his company is up to the challenge.

He added: "If I have a room full of 10 people, eight out of 10 would love to go to space if they could afford it.

"So I think the market for people who would love to become astronauts and go to space is gigantic. And it is up to us to produce as many spaceships as we can to cater with that demand."