You could look at using BridgeTalk in ExtendScript or, in CS6 and CS Extension Builder 2.0, the CS Communication Toolkit in AS3 - http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/cs-extension-builder/features.html
The API reference for the Communication Toolkit is shipped with Extension Builder - you can view the docs by selecting "Help > Help Contents" from the menu bar, then selecting "Adobe Creative Suite Extension Builder > References > CS Communication Toolkit API Reference".
There are also some sample extensions that show you how to use the CS Communication Toolkit (codenamed Vulcan). You can import these by selecting "File > Import ... > Adobe Creative Suite Extension Builder > Remote Creative Suite SDK Examples". The most relevant sample is probably "Vulcan - ApplicationControl" which shows how to see the installed/running applications, and how to launch an application.
I personally would recommend using the CS Communication Toolkit from AS3 rather than trying to use BridgeTalk. I've had issues using BridgeTalk from an extension in the past.
Hope that helps,