"Today, we become more formidable still, by announcing that Virgin Galactic. has taken a huge step towards becoming the very first publicly listed human spaceflight company", Branson said in a statement.
Virgin Galactic is preparing to become a publicly traded company later this year, making it the first such human spaceflight venture to do so.
The company, which plans to offer multi-day trips to space, has announced a deal to combine with New York-listed Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH), led by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.
Social Capital Hedosophia will have a 49 percent stake in the combined business, the companies said Tuesday.
Branson said in December that he expected to make his first flight some time in 2019, followed by commercial clients.
"As we look back on the decade of Apollo with wonder and gratitude, I believe we can do so with the excitement that comes from knowing we are at the dawn of a new space age".
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The WSJ reports that since it was founded in 2004, Virgin Galactic has already raised more than $1 billion - and that mostly came from Branson himself.
"Having got to know Chamath and Adam over the past few months, I have no doubt that we will be better together and am delighted they are becoming such important partners on our wonderful journey".
Branson's company is racing against Blue Origin, the space business of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to bring tourists to space. "They share our dreams and together we will make them reality".
Palihapitiya is investing US$100 million of his own money in the merger and is set to be the new partnership's chairman.
Virgin Galactic's last test flight was in February when its spacecraft reached an altitude of more than 55 miles following a launch from California's Mojave desert.
He said: "We are confident that VG is light years ahead of the competition".
The company reportedly has sold 600 tickets to those aspiring to be astronauts, amounting to a total of $80 million.