With the sad demise of the US Space Transportation System (Colloquially known as the "Space Shuttle") return of payload from orbit is very limited.
Currently the SpaceX Dragon can return the most payload, in the 2000 lbs range. Soyuz is the only other current option, which has about 90-100 lbs of cargo it can return with the crew.
Could a Soyuz return empty, no crew, but all payload?
Sort of a Soyuz used as a Progress, but mostly for the return payload.