The New Space Race Update

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Virgin Galactic is on track for taking passengers into space by the end of 2008, Richard Branson said on Monday. "It is going very well, we have 100 engineers working on it and we have had about 50,000 people who have put their names down to fly," he was quoted by UTV online. Branson was in Florida this week for the launch of the GlobalFlyer, and said that NASA has offered Virgin Galactic a base at the Kennedy Space Center. The offer is interesting, he said, but discussions are still preliminary. "I think we would find that it would bring a lot of people to the area who would watch the flight as well as those who were flying," he said. Test flights are expected to begin late next year for the fleet of five spaceships being built at Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif. Tourist flights are expected to begin in late 2008.