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With the development of communication technologies, various multi-media applications have been introduced into wireless and satellite networks. However, as wireless channels and satellite channels are not ideal and the traditional layering design method has its deficiencies, another network design method - cross-layer design has attracted more attention in recent years. In this article, the origin and methodology of cross-layer design are first presented. Then present efforts on cross-layer design for satellite networks are reviewed. Last the costs and tradeoffs in cross-layer design are analyzed.