Based on the situation in 2016:

  • Which vehicles that are in use for ISS resupply missions are human-rated by any space agency? (Bonus points for a list broken down by country of origin and/or the space agency/agencies that consider the vehicles acceptable for human occupants.)
  • How many astronauts can each support on a normal ascent and descent respectively, without any significant retrofitting efforts?

1 Answer 1


At the moment, the only man-rated vehicle, in the sense you mean, is Soyuz.

However, all the visiting vehicles that dock to the station have to be man-rated in a sense, since they become station extensions.

Of the other currently flying vehicles, since only Dragon (cargo) can reenter without burning up (HTV, ATV, Progress, Cygnus all destruct on reentry) it is the only potentially that could carry humans back. However it would be a very bad day indeed before they would seriously consider doing that. They are not designed to carry people, from a seating perspective, and taking G's while sitting unsecured is bad for the body. But also the life support system is not meant for supporting people, although perhaps that could be upgraded if desired.

The future vehicles are:

  • Boeing CST-100 Starliner which is specced for 7 but will fly with 4 for NASA
  • Dragon v2 (Manned) which is specced for 7 but will fly with 4 for NASA.
  • Dream Chaser (Cargo) unmanned.

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