A ground-based laser system for space-debris cleaning will use powerful laser pulses that can self-focus while propagating through the atmosphere. We demonstrate that for the relevant laser parameters, this self-focusing can noticeably decrease the laser intensity on the target. We show that the detrimental effect can be, to a great extent, compensated for by applying the optimal initial beam defocusing. The effect of laser elevation on the system performance is discussed.
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- space debris