In a free-space optical communication system employing fiber-optic components, the phasefront distortions induced by atmospheric turbulence limit the efficiency with which the laser beam is coupled into a single-mode fiber. We analyze different link scenarios including a geostationary (GEO) satellite, a high-altitude platform (HAP), and an optical ground station (OGS). Single-mode coupled optically preamplified receivers allow for efficient suppression of background noise and highly sensitive detection. While GEO-to-OGS communication suffers from atmospheric turbulence, we demonstrate that GEO-to-HAP communication allows for close to diffraction-limited performance when applying tip-tilt correction.
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