Increasing the information capacity of the Deep Space Network, a global network of radio frequency receivers used to communicate with and track interplanetary spacecraft, will increase the number and complexity of future space explorations missions it can support. Adding optical communications capability will improve the information capacity of the Deep Space Network. The availability of an optical communication link between a deep space transmitter and an Earth-based receiver is limited by the location of the sun relative to the line of sight. The sun could block the line of sight entirely, account for sufficient background radiation to degrade the system performance, or, the receiver telescope may form an image of the sun resulting in a safety hazard. The large diameter ground telescopes capable of supporting high rate optical links over solar-system distances exacerbate these challenges. We present experimental results bounding the safety threshold for solar-induced damage upon a Deep Space Network antenna and predict system level performance.