The High Temperature Superconductivity Space Experiment (HTSSE-II) is a continuation of a program that began in 1988 when the Department of Defense recognized the military and commercial potential of high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials and devices.
HTSSE was designed to take advantage of the low temperatures that exist in space. HTSSE-I was a self-contained laboratory for testing basic HTS components; HTSSE-II demonstrates the feasibility of advanced HTS devices and subsystems in real-world applications.
As aspiring as the HTSSE program is, it is only the beginning. Based on the results from this program, the Department of Defense and its government and commercial partners are exploring opportunities for using HTS technology in future spacecraft.
Beyond these are commercial applications that only high temperature superconductivity can make possible: dramatically improved cellular and satellite communications systems; tenfold refinements in the accuracy of the Global Positioning System; and aviation radars sensitive enough to detect wind shears.