The Russian Soyuz has an extensive history in docking with ISS with both manned and unmanned capsules. SpaceX just recently demonstrated manned-capsule docking with ISS with a history of unmanned successes.

Are there any significant differences between unmanned vs. manned in either of these programs? I'm curious not just about procedures, but if there are any differences with timelines or rates as well.

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    $\begingroup$ Soyuz and Progress dock automatically. In case of equipment failure, manual docking is possible. For a Progress, this is a remote control. $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ posts containing "kurs" space.stackexchange.com/search?q=kurs $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 20:32

1 Answer 1


The various visiting vehicles connect with the ISS in different fashions.

Soyuz, Progress, and ATV use the Kurs docking system for automated docking, but with a manual override.

Dragon V1, HTV, and Cygnus, berth at the station. They arrive close to the station, and then the CanadaArm2 grapples the vehicle, moves it to the berthing port, and then the vehicle berths with the station.

The Space Shuttle used a PMA (Pressurized Mating Adapter) to dock to the station.

The new vehicles, Dragon Crew (V2), CST-100, Dream Chaser will dock to a PMA with the addition of an IDA (International Docking Adapter).


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