(CNBC) Virgin Galactic expects to be profitable two years after it begins publicly-trading, with the company aiming to fly tourists to the edge of space for the first time within a year.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday that Virgin Galactic is projected to become profitable on an annual basis by August 2021. The pair of billionaires, who are taking the company public following a merger deal, also said Virgin Galactic is on track to fly its first customers within a year.

“Since we put two spaceships into space earlier this year, and made five new astronauts – the first astronauts to have been made on American soil since 2009 – we’ve had 2,500 people ask to sign up,” Branson told CNBC. “The market is enormous.”

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