The launch vehicle is the part of a space vehicle which supplies the propulsion and guidance to reach the prescribed velocity, position, and attitude required for injection into the desired trajectory. Today's launch vehicles consist of two, three, or more propulsive stages, and can be classified in a number of ways. One of these is according to launch capacity, as shown in the table.
|vehicle type||capacity (kg) to LEO||capacity (kg) to GTO||examples|
|HLLV||> 10,000||> 5,000||Ariane 5, Titan III, Space Shuttle, Zenit|
|LLV||5,000-10,000||2,000-5,000||Ariane 4, Atlas IIAS, CZ-2E, H-2, GSLV|
|MLV||2,000-5,000||1,000-2,000||Delta 7925, CZ-3, PSLV, Molniya, Tsyklon|
|SLV||< 2,000||< 1,000||Athena I/II, ASLV, Pegasus XL, Start, Taurus|
Further classification is possible into expendable, or non-reusable, launch vehicles and non-expandable launch vehicles.