TICRA’s POS product: Designing the contours of the antenna beam
In the early 1980s, the idea of Reflector Shaping was born. Through several R&D-contracts with international partners, TICRA contributed to the developments of this technological area. In particular, TICRA developed the antenna design software product, POS, which have been used to design the vast majority of shaped antennas launched into space.
In Reflector Shaping, the reflector is deformed from a conventional paraboloid to generate a beam shape that matches the desired coverage area on Earth, e.g. the borders of a continent. The primary purpose is to avoid the use of a lossy beam-forming network in multi-beam antennas.
TICRA’s work on designing contoured beams started in the late 1970s where COBRA is developed to optimise amplitude and phases of the horns in an array-fed reflector antenna. Instead of using least squares, TICRA implemented a minmax optimiser developed at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The program was later improved with funding from INTELSAT and it leads to the launch of a new program called SCOPE.
In parallel, the software packages, POS and POD were developed, targeting reflector shaping of single and dual reflectors, respectively. Over the years, POS, POD and SCOPE have been consolidated into a single product, POS.
For decades POS has been the state-of-the-art software tool for designing contoured beam payload antennas. And the majority communications satellites have antennas designed with this long-lived and successful tool.