Would it be faster or cheaper to have a lander, SSTO, and/or SpaceX Mars rocket to rendezvous connect with a more efficient engine or "transport stage" or another lander, SSTO?

When the spacecraft launches from Earth the transport stage also breaks LEO headed in the same direction to meet out of orbit rather in orbit.

It is a question not so much about anything but the transport stage that is designed to receive different types of spacecraft? Is it worth having gravity and reduced travel time from engines that are more efficient but not yet not capable of launching from Earth or Mars to go back and forth from Orbit to Orbit faster?

Vaguely related:

The Orbital Mass Accelerator Engine Theory

Maximum size for a Ion thruster solar array

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    $\begingroup$ If one ignores the images, the question boils down to whether it would be a good idea to have a lander/SSTO and a "transport stage" that remains in orbit for interplanetary travel. And I imagine that this would indeed be feasible. $\endgroup$
    – DarkDust
    Mar 22, 2019 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ I do this is KSP all the time. (in case the lander crashes, im not very good) $\endgroup$
    – Aaron
    Mar 25, 2019 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe change "would it be a good idea" to "would it be faster/cheaper/safer/etc." This might help people better answer your question as "good" is subjective. $\endgroup$
    – ben
    Mar 26, 2019 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ @ben thank you edited $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 27, 2019 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ sounds like a "space tug" $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Mar 30, 2019 at 0:31


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