The net benefit of the Tether Launch Assist is that it can significantly reduce ΔV that a launch system such as a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) must provide to the payload. Mach 8-12 instead Mach 25 (orbital velocity), so the energy needed is 4-8 times less.
Electro-Dynamic Orbital Accelerator concept has a large vehicle in orbit with a trailing conductive tether. Instead of trying to meet up with a point hook, a vehicle would meet up with the long trailing tether.
The launch vehicle must provide only enough energy to reach OX altitude, thus allowing 30% or more of lift-off weight to be payload, as compared to ~3% for conventional rockets. The result is an enormous reduction in the cost to reach orbit. Payload increases by ten times.
Instead of a meeting an almost point like hook, a sub-orbital vehicle would connect anywhere along a long tether.
NOTE: the tether is unstable and the design would need to be modeled in detail and means to stabilize it found. I was thinking that small sensors and small segments of the tether could have some means of propulsion OR a small towed could be on the end which also flies to stabilize the tether or to pull it taught before rendezvous.