ELON MUSK’S AMBITION to launch people into orbit around Earth took another step forward on March 3rd. That was when a Crew Dragon space capsule, built by Mr Musk’s company, SpaceX, docked successfully with the International Space Station (ISS). Crew Dragon is the human-capable version of a craft SpaceX has been sending to the ISS for the past seven years as a supply truck. On this flight the capsule had a dummy on board (as well as supplies for the station). Later in the year, if all goes according to plan, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, both veterans of America’s space-shuttle programme, will become SpaceX’s first two astronauts. Whether they will beat SpaceX’s rival, Boeing’s Starliner, to the ISS remains to be seen. Boeing is planning its own dummy mission in April. If that works, the race will truly be on.