A method for use in a satellite communications system (20) of a type that has at least one satellite (22) having forward and reverse beams each comprised of sub-beams for relaying user communications between a ground station (24) and user terminals (30). In a first embodiment forward and reverse antenna systems are separately optimized for their intended applications without regard for maintaining congruence between antenna beam sub-beams at the surface of the earth. In a second embodiment a method optimizes signal flow between the ground station and the user terminals and includes the steps of: (a) determining user terminal RF signal conditions within the sub-beams of at least one of the forward and reverse beams; and (b) in response to the determined RF signal conditions, re-allocating sub-beams of at least one of the forward and reverse beams such that the totality of the sub-beams of the forward beam are non-congruent with the totality of the sub-beams of the reverse beam, at the surface of the earth, while maintaining the forward beam substantially congruent with the reverse beam, at the surface of the earth. The step of determining includes a step of maintaining a database that stores a map of the sub-beams. In one embodiment of this invention the steps of determining and maintaining are executed at the ground station, while in another embodiment the steps of determining and maintaining are executed on-board the satellite.