This seems like a good opportunity to start a new thread. According to this Aviation Week article, SpaceX plans on performing the COTS-1 demostration flight of the Dragon capsule sometime this summer. Stay tuned for further updates as they become available.
SpaceX plans to ship its second Falcon 9 to Florida in July, and launch later this summer with the first full-up version of the Dragon capsule the company hopes will one day carry astronauts to the ISS. That flight is the first of three demonstration missions under SpaceX’s $278-million COTS contract with NASA, a precursor to its $1.6-billion, 12-flight contract to deliver cargo to the space station.
SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk says it will take about a month to digest data collected during the 9.5-min. flight of the first Falcon 9, which put a Dragon cargo module structural test article into a 250-km. (155-mi.) circular orbit at an inclination of 34.5 deg.
“We achieved a near bulls-eye on the target—about 99.9 percent on the perigee and about 101 percent on the apogee,” Musk says. “We would have been excited to have the first stage work or get some of our way through the second stage.”
Pending NASA’s approval, Musk wants to attempt docking at the station with the second COTS flight, keeping the third mission as a backup. That raises the stakes for Dragon’s debut flight.
“For COTS-1, the gating factor is not going to be the rocket,” Musk says. “The rocket’s done. COTS-1 demo will be first launch of an operational Dragon capsule, so there are a lot of things that are going to have to work, everything from the heat shield to the engines to avionics, all the software.”