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In satellite-based Internet access, improvements in the TCP protocol and a suitable media access control (MAC) scheme are two key factors in maximizing system throughput. While a number of techniques to enhance the TCP performance over satellite links have been proposed, this paper focuses on the influence of satellite MAC protocol on TCP performance. We present a pre-return reservation combined free/demand assignment multiple access (PRR-CFDAMA) protocol over an MFTDMA/TDM satellite link, and analyze its performance with Poisson and empirical Internet traffic by simulations. The results show that PRR-CFDAMA can provide higher throughput and shorter delay for TCP traffic. We also present simulation results for FTP over TCP and show that by tuning the TCP parameters, we can improve the system performance noticeably.