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 P: 9 Hello, This discussion has been held in many different forums and the answers are generally obvious because of the dictations of the physics involved. There was even an engineering study on the subject. Although there are gains do to reduction in drag ,The biggest predominant factor is the energy required to achieve orbital velocity. Buts lets make it even simpler ,here is the economics of it. The pegasus vehicle cost is $30,474 per kg The STS cost is$10,416 per kg The Ariane 5 cost is $9,167 per kg The proton cost is$4,297 per kg Vehicle costs are 100 to 1000 to 1 in comparison to the cost of fuel so the economy of size is the biggest factor in cost. Which essentially eliminates balloon launching and limits aircraft launching to small NIRTS payloads. Greg