Although a balloon, alone, would not be able to carry a payload to orbit, you could
launch a rocket from a balloon, as in the aformentioned
, and have the rocket insert your payload into orbit.
As to the concern expressed about the difficulty of controlling a balloon, and thus the rocket launch; what you do is simply replace the balloon with
a high-altitude Airship!
I'm not talking about your average, everday "Blimp", here either.
I'm talking about a full-size, heavy-lift, extremely high-altitude (say 75,000 to 100,000FT altitude) purpose-built, fully re-usable, airship-based
A powered airship, at 80 or more thousand feet altitude would be well above a large portion of the Earth's atmosphere; virtually immune to winds and
weather, and the detremental effects of aerodynamic drag inherent at lower altitudes, due to a much denser atmosphere.
Low altitude airships are already in development with designs that list payload capacities far in excess of the largest cargo planes - and which
approach the capacities of freight trains and ocean-going cargo ships.
Why not "Aim High"?
I have some interesting ideas for a High-altitude launcher!
Note: This thread is about the feasability of using a balloon (or Alternative
method of lauch) to place Satellites in Orbit
, Not usings
balloons to carry cammeras to extreme altitudes,
edit on 12-9-2012 by Bhadhidar because: Denying (perceived) Ignorance