This course is designed to give seniors and graduate students an overview of the principles of satellite communications systems. Building on junior-level courses in electromagnetics and communications, it shows how complex satellite systems operate and provide services that we depend on, such as telephone, television, weather forecasting, and global positioning. Specific topics include: historical background on how satellite systems came to be, present uses of satellite systems, and future trends in satellite systems design, construction, and uses; orbital mechanics and launch systems and vehicles; earth stations; radio propagation and link analysis; signals and satellite access methods. Student performance is evaluated via exams, homework assignments, and projects. Hands-on experience in the design of satellite communications links is gained through the use of industry-standard satellite system analysis software. In their design, the student must achieve specific goals of satellite accessibility, earth coverage footprint, orbital launch and stability, and communications link budget.