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The concept of deep-space optical communications was formulated shortly after the invention of lasers. The promise of laser communications, high data rate delivery with significantly reduced aperture size for the flight terminal, led to the pursuit of several successful experiments from Earth orbit and provided the incentive for further demonstrations to extend the range to deep space. This paper is aimed at presenting an overview of the current status of optical communications with an emphasis on deep space. Future perspectives and applications of optical communications related to near-Earth and interplanetary communications are also addressed.