The success of free-space optical links operating indoors or in the atmosphere or deep space shows a good perspective of the technology. There is no doubt that free-space technology is ready for wide practical application. Optical links have several advantages in comparison with radio links, namely high transmission rates and high security. Advance in systems for the detection and tracking of moving objects allowed the development of mobile optical wireless links. This paper is focused on satellite and mobile optical links. Included are basic characteristics of such links and current results of international research projects.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.