The rise of the EU as an actor in the European and world space theatres, in its various roles as initiator, owner and operator of large-scale programmes such as Galileo and GMES, has raised a number of questions with regard to industrial policy. Based on the experiences from the Galileo programme's procurement round in the Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase and on the present discussions on space industrial policy within the EU, this paper argues that, whereas the EU's political ambitions in space have been discussed and become reasonably well defined, the specific policy tools and legal instruments to put them into practice are far from complete. First, an unequivocal industrial policy for the space sector needs to be defined that reconciles the Union's political ambitions with the economic specificities of the space sector. At present, this is a work in progress, with opinions diverging between member states. Second, both logically and temporally, these policy decisions need to be translated into legal instruments that allow their implementation. This implies the development of made-to-measure funding instruments and procurement rules. We conclude by emphasising the need for a sector-specific industrial policy as an integral part of the EU's space policy.