Single-stage-to-orbit

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A single-stage-to-orbit (or SSTO) vehicle reaches orbit from the surface of a body without jettisoning hardware, expending only propellants and fluids. The term usually, but not exclusively, refers to reusable vehicles. No Earth-launched SSTO launch vehicles have ever been constructed. Current orbital launches are either performed by multi-stage fully or partially expendable rockets, or by the Space Shuttle which is multi-stage and partially reusable. Several research spacecraft have been designed and partially or completely constructed, including Skylon, the DC-X, the X-33, and the Roton SSTO. However, despite showing some promise, none of them has come close to achieving orbit yet. Single-stage-to-orbit has been achieved from the Moon by both the Apollo program's Lunar Module and several robotic spacecraft of the Soviet Luna programme; the lower lunar gravity and absence of any significant atmosphere makes this much easier than from Earth.