I was watching a History Channel show about Aircraft Carriers. Part of the show explained the catapults and how they accelerated the planes. This led me to think about a verticle catapult for Space Shuttle launches. Assuming that we could get the Shuttle, SRB and fuel up to a speed of 25 meters/second how much less fuel (% less or Kg less) would it need to carry to get into orbit? What about 50 meters/sec, 100 meters/sec? Not being familiar with the equations I was wondering if anyone would know?
Now thinking about accelerating the Shuttle how long with the catapult have to be to get it up to these speeds. I guess to determine that you would need to know the maximum number of g's astronauts can take before blacking out and the maximum number of g's the Shuttle and it's components could take. The smaller of those two values would give the max acceleration. Ok enough rambling… please reply if you can fill in any of the values/answers.