Feb 17, 17 / Pis 20, 01 16:48 UTC
Re: A new type of material for building space ships and space elevators! ¶
Air launching achieves what you want, higher initial launch altitude thus reducing fuel and potentially engine weight, with the added bonus of imparted initial speed.
My argument would be that if you're saving 5% efficiency (and cost) using something like air launching, which would get you faster and higher, the logistics costs of balloon launching would have to fit under that percentage to be desirable. For the design headaches alone, I'd pay the 5% and not have to worry about hanging a multi-ton rocket at 45degrees, under a slowly rising balloon.
I took 'improved payload to orbit' to mean efficiency, which would result in cheaper costs. Or improved payload size to orbit, in that you could take a slightly larger payload for the same fuel. Both being roughly equivalent anyway.
Your EM launcher is possible (someone attempted to launch satellites with a huge cannon during WW2 iirc), it has the same large requirements on structural integrity so is probably not overly suited to rockets. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_gun It might give a little fuel saving if combined vertically with a normal launchpad launch though.