TICRA Tools: Seamless and efficient antenna modeling
For decades, TICRA’s software tools have been the satellite industry standard for antenna RF modeling. Since the 1970s, TICRA has developed several essential and indispensable antenna design software products, including GRASP, POS, and CHAMP, all as standalone programs. As the ultimate sophistication for the RF antenna designer these tools were in 2019 made available in one common framework: TICRA Tools.
The philosophy of the framework is to have all necessary antenna design tools available in one shared user interface, with seamless integration between the products and no need for data exchange between them. All products in TICRA Tools can be used independently or together. The idea is to analyse, synthesise and optimise using a dedicated and specialised tool for the antenna problem at hand, and to combine the tools in one common interface when piecing together a full antenna system.
As an example of the power of TICRA Tools, a reflector antenna may be analysed using Physical Optics (PO) in GRASP, while the associated antenna feed may be optimised using Mode Matching in CHAMP 3D. Most of the horn design will be dictated by goals on the secondary antenna pattern, which by combining GRASP and CHAMP 3D in TICRA Tools is readily available. Finally, when the reflector and horn have been designed, the mounting arm of the feed, or the positioning of the antenna on a satellite platform, may be analysed using a full-wave Method of Moments (MoM) analysis in ESTEAM, still in the TICRA Tools framework.
In the Spring of 2019, the first version of the TICRA Tools framework was finalised and released: GRASP, ESTEAM and CHAMP 3D became available as independent products in the new framework. With the first release, general optimisation capabilities were also made available with all products in the framework. Later in 2019, for the TICRA Tools 19.1 release, the first version of the QUPES software was released as a fourth independent product available in the framework. The most recent addition came in 2020 when the POS software was integrated as a fifth product available in TICRA Tools.
With the introduction of TICRA Tools, the numbering of new releases was also changed: The number before the period indicates the year of release, while the number after the period provides information of the type of release. As an example, TICRA Tools 19.1 was the second feature release in 2019, while TICRA Tools 21.0.1 was a bug fix release for the first feature release in 2021.