Western European military space policy


Western European military space policy

Alasdair McLean

Dartmouth, c1992

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This book sets out to provide an introduction to the military use of space, with particular emphasis on the European context. While considerable attention has, over the past few years, been focussed on the military space activities of the superpowers, little has so far been published on the policies, capabilities and intentions of European nations in this field. In the comparatively few years since the first man-made satellite was launched into earth orbit, the world has witnessed a spectacular growth not only in the number of satellites launched, but in the wide range of different purposes which they serve. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of military activity. Today the military forces of many nations, wherever they may be around the globe, rely to an ever increasing extent on the use of space-based assets for a wide range of support facilities, from communication and surveillance to apparently more mundane, but no less important tasks, such as weather forecasting. While it is true to say that the Soviet Union and the United States of America are without any doubt the current leaders in such military uses of space, other nations are also increasingly reliant on such technology. Over the past few decades Europe has grown to take her current place as the world's third power in terms of civilian space activities. Yet it has also, though to a much lesser extent, developed an autonomous military space capability. This book sets out to examine the ways in which this situation has come about, and questions whether or not this is likely to, or indeed should, change as we move rapidly towards the 21st century.


  • The military utility of space - passive systems
  • the military utility of space - active systems
  • a history of European space co-operation
  • current European military space assets
  • future directions
  • the policy domain.

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