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A method of on-ground simulation of optical links for free-space communications by Fourier-transform, image magnification and wavefront sampling with limited apertures was proposed. An optical simulator for free-space laser links was designed, which has the range of equivalent links distances from 160,000 km to 25 km. It can be used for the evaluation of communication performances of optical links in space, particularly for measuring the bit error rate under a constant transmission distance or for testing the equivalent transmission distance under a constant bit error rate. System analysis indicates that the wavefront aberrations of Fourier-transform lens have the main influence on the measurement results.
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