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This paper addresses the applicability of single-input multiple-output (SIMO) technology to land mobile satellite (LMS) communications and proposes a fully parameterized statistical model, which can be used to accurately characterize SIMO-LMS channels. Specifically, it focuses on the careful consolidation of currently available experimental results for "conventional" SISO-LMS and terrestrial MIMO channels, and on their novel extrapolation to the SIMO-LMS case of interest for the accurate statistical modeling of L/S-band correlated, both spatially and temporarily, SIMO-LMS channels. Moreover, based on the proposed channel model, the channel capacity statistics as well as the error performance of a SIMO-LMS diversity system, assuming both maximal ratio combining (MRC) and selection combining (SC), are evaluated through detailed computer simulations. Useful numerical results on the capacity and diversity gains achieved are also provided taking into account several critical operational system parameters.