The emergence of new players such as India and China has provoked such a transformation in both the geo- and space-strategic fields that Europe has been obliged to take urgent steps to develop a military space programme to sustain its position on the international stage. The desire of the United States to achieve ‘space control’ or to militarise space shows the importance of military space in the conduct of external operations. Current European military space programmes are merely the fruit of an amalgamation of national resources. In this field France has always been the instigator of the European space effort, as demonstrated by the Helios II programme. If there is to be a European military space programme, it will emerge from a desire to cooperate that is shared by several EU member states, and not exclusively from the resolve of France, as has so often been the case in the past.