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. To date, orbital launches have been performed either by multi-stage fully or partially expendable rockets, or by the Space Shuttle which was 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 due to problems with finding the most efficient propulsion system.
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.
Read more about Single-stage-to-orbit: History, Approaches To SSTO, Features of SSTO, Dense Versus Hydrogen Fuels, One Engine For All Altitudes, Airbreathing SSTO, Launch Assists, Nuclear Propulsion, Beam-powered Propulsion, Comparison With The Shuttle, Examples, Alternative Approaches To Cheap Spaceflight
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... Using this concept, some aerospace analysts believe the way to lower launch costs is the exact opposite of SSTO ... Whereas reusable SSTOs would reduce per launch costs by making a reusable high-tech vehicle that launches frequently with low maintenance, the "mass production" approach views the technical advances as a source of the cost problem in the first place ...