With the kick-off for an ESA ARTES21 contract to deliver 6 BiSon 64 sunsensors for a flatsat, 6 for a first satellite and an option offered for another 6 to be put on a second satellite there seems to be a convincing end for Lens R&D and the space grade BiSon 64 sunsensors to the period spend in the valley of death.
Where most space systems tend to need some form of technology demonstration mission, the BiSon64 space grade sunsensors are going straight into the core of a real mission. (with follow on missions scheduled)
Designed to exhibit a very high reliability and best possible TCO the sensors are perfect for bringing bigsat performance to smallsats at a smallsat pricetag.
Using 6 fine sunsensors on a satellite offers significant advantages with respect to earth albedo sensitivity and associated higher pointing accuracy. Driven by innovations like unattended machining, wire bondable housing integrated connectors and automate pick and place assembly the BiSon 64 sunsensors are fine sunsensors (64 degree FOV in diagonal) with a pricetag comparable to common coarse sunsensors associated to them.
With this ESA ARTES21 program running it is expected that TRL8 will be reached within a year from now and TRL9 is only a matter of time.(Q1 2018 expected)