COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Technology currently in space is demonstrating that it is capable of detecting and tracking moving targets on the ground and within the next year there will be prototype sensors launched into space to further work on ground moving target indication (GMTI), the head of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) said on Tuesday.

The technology and the manufacturing of the technology is “there” based on already demonstrated capabilities and “now we’re in in the process of actually going into manufacturing and will start launching within the next eight to 12 months,” Chris Scolese said during a media briefing at the annual Space Symposium here.

Asked what to expect in the next 12 to 18 months in the GMTI area, he answered, “A lot of launches.”

Earlier in the day, Scolese told attendees that his agency and the U.S. Space Force are working closely together on solutions for GMTI from space with a goal of delivering reliable and resilient capability “in the very near future.” NRO will leverage its flexible acquisition mechanisms to procure these capabilities quickly.

The U.S. Air Force has been conducting missions for GMTI since at least the early 1990s using the Northrop Grumman

[NOC]-built E-8 Joint STARS aircraft that are being retired.

The U.S. Space Force is responsible for launching the GMTI-related satellites.

Scolese initially told reporters that there has already been “some prototyping, which are on orbit” that have demonstrated GMTI capabilities. However, later in the briefing, he suggested that the existing prototyping is certain pieces of equipment and not a prototype of a GMTI sensor.

“You may see a prototype sensor in the future, but we have prototypes up there that are representative of what we’ll be launching in the next few months,” he said.

The Air Force has said that future GMTI will probably be done using a mix of space and airborne assets. The Space Force is writing a capability development document for space-based GMTI.

NRO is gathering requirements from the combatant commands, including U.S. Space Command, that will inform the development of systems for GMTI, Scolese said. The prototypes will allow for “practice before we get the operational system,” he said.

Army Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, appearing alongside Scolese at the media briefing, said that as “new capabilities and capacity” for space-based GMTI are developed, these capabilities will be exercised as is always the case with something new to meet the needs of warfighters.