We examine the requirements placed on an adaptive-optics system used to compensate atmospheric effects in propagating high-power lasers from ground to space. The particular application involves energy transfer from a ground station to a satellite. Our analysis explores performance associated with various beacon configurations, including satellite-based beacons, beacons in the lead-ahead direction, and synthetic beacons. Other system parameters are adjusted as well, including number of actuators in the deformable mirror and bandwidth of the servo system. We show that with an optimized system design it is possible to achieve collection efficiencies of 10-50 percent over zenith angles as great as 70 deg.