The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) has conducted a feasibility study to determine if a high altitude (20 km) tethered balloon-based space-to-ground optical communication system is a feasible concept. To support this effort, a detailed concept definition was developed and associated issues were identified and analyzed systematically. Of all the adverse atmospheric phenomena, cloud coverage was identified as the most prohibitive obstacle for a space-to-ground optical communication link. However, by placing a receiver on a balloon at a 20 km altitude, the proposed high altitude system avoids virtually all atmospheric effects. A practical notional scenario was developed (i.e. surveillance and/or reconnaissance of a regional conflict) involving end-to-end optical communication architecture to identify system elements, system level requirements, and to quantify realistic data rate requirements. Analysis of the proposed space-to-ground communication elements indicates that while significant development is required, the system is technically feasible and is a very cost effective 24/7solution.