We present the results from a Monte Carlo computer simulation of adaptive optics (AO) pre-compensated laser uplink propagation through the Earth’s atmospheric turbulence from the ground to orbiting satellites. The simulation includes the so-called point-ahead angle and tests several potential AO mitigation modes such as tip/tilt or full AO from the downlink beam, and a laser guide star at the point ahead angle. The performance of these modes, as measured by metrics relevant for free-space optical communication, are compared with no correction and perfect correction. The aim of the study is to investigate fundamental limitations of free-space optical communications with AO pre-compensation and a point-ahead angle, therefore the results represent an upper bound of AO corrected performance, demonstrating the potential of pre-compensation technology. Performance is assessed with varying launch aperture size, wavelength, launch geometry, ground layer turbulence strength (i.e. day/night), elevation angle and satellite orbit (Low-Earth and Geostationary). By exploring this large parameter space we are able examine trends on performance with the aim of informing the design of future optical ground stations and demonstrating and quantifying the potential upper bounds of adaptive optics performance in free-space optical communications.