"I've been talking about it for a number of years. But the week after next, we do our first pod flight. ... By the end of the year, the new spaceship should be up and away."
(Read More: Branson: United Tried to 'Damage Us' With 40% Fare Cut)
Virgin Galactic has deposits from more than 500 would-be passengers for its spaceflight experience, according to its website.
But of course, Branson won't be satisfied with just being onboard.
"I think it's quite likely that either I or someone else will jump from one of our spaceships at some stage," he said. "I normally like to say 'yes' myself. So we'll see if I'm allowed."
Moving from space to the depths of the seas, Branson also talked about his Virgin Oceanic venture. "We're also building submarines to explore the bottom of the ocean. ... There are about 80 percent undiscovered species, they say."
In addition to doing scientific research, he envisioned the subs as a way for adventurers like himself to participate in exploration.
"You never know what we're going to find," he said. "A lot of ships with gold and treasure?"
—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC