Numerical simulation of laser beam propagation on space-to- ground and ground-to-space paths is carried out. The simulation is performed for different Cn2 height profile models in dependence on atmospheric turbulence strength. Atmospheric turbulence severely degrades the performance of ground-to-satellite optical links. Using the wave to be passed from satellite to the optical ground station as the reference wave, it is studied the effectiveness of adaptive correction of laser beam propagating from the ground to satellite. Different schemes of adaptive correction are considered, namely, ideal phase conjugation, correction based on information about reference wave phase restored by mean least square procedure. The effectiveness of the correction by adaptive optics to correct wave front distortions caused by atmospheric turbulence, and possibly improving the link budgets from ground to space and vice versa is discussed. We also analyze and discuss the effect of optical scintillation on signal fade and surge.© (2002) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.