Beanstalk and Balloon: getting to orbit by hook or by crook
I've been obsessed with the idea of using airships to help get us to orbit for some time, and I see that there are some other people out there with similar ideas.
The basic idea is to use a large floating airship as a basestation for a space elevator, or beanstalk as it is sometimes called.
The following links contain detailed discussion by others of this idea.
Also, check out this site for an interesting take on space station development