In a wide variety of broadband applications, there is a need to distribute information to a potentially large number of receiver sites that are widely dispersed from each other. Communication satellites are a natural technology option and are extremely well suited for carrying such services because of the inherent broadcast capability of the satellite channel. Despite the potential of satellite multicast, there exists little support for multicast services over satellite networks. Although several multicast protocols have been proposed for use over the Internet, they are not optimized for satellite networks. One of the key multicast components that is affected when satellite networks are involved in the communication is the transport layer. In this paper, we attempt to provide an overview of the design space and the ways in which the network deployment and application requirements affect the solution space for transport layer schemes in a satellite environment. We also highlight some of the issues that are critical in the development of next generation satellite multicast services. Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.