The Air Force Space Laser Communications (LASERCOM) Program started with system concept and component design in the early 1970's at the Air Force Avionics Laboratory. The communications system that evolved demonstrated, in 1973, data rates up to one gigabit per second with a bit error rate of 10-6 for 40,000 kilometer simulated links. System capabilities were demonstrated during the period 1975 to present using an engineering feasibility model of a gigabit-per-second space-qualifiable transmitter and a brassboard receiver. The next phase of the program will start in September of this year when the LASERCOM system begins operation outside of the laboratory environment at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This six-phase demonstration will include ground-to-ground links up to approximately 20 kilometers and aircraft-to-ground links up to approximately 50 kilometers. During these demonstrations, dynamic far-field acquisition, tracking, and two-way communications will be demonstrated. The performance characteristics of the LASERCOM system make its potential application to certain satellite-satellite and satellite-aircraft links unique, while other potential LASERCOM links require a detailed cost analysis of the current investment in radio frequency terminals and systems versus the cost of developing and deploying LASERCOM terminals and systems. There are also some communications links that can be most effectively satisfied by a hybrid LASERCOM and radio frequency system.