The "Give Way Agreement" - The Future of Orbital Coordination?

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Outer space is becoming a congested domain, and the increasing presence of private enterprise exacerbates this. As the total number of assets in orbit around the Earth increase, especially in valuable regions such as low earth orbit, there is an increased risk of collision between satellites. This risk has prompted operators and regulators to take steps to avoid collisions and deconflict activities in orbit to avoid large debris- generating collisions. This article will consider a recent mechanism to avoid collisions in orbit: an agreement between the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space and Administration (‘NASA’) and Space Exploration Technologies (‘SpaceX’) that requires SpaceX to ‘give way’ to NASA’s assets in orbit. This article will explore the international law applicable to space traffic management, and the statutory basis and the content of the agreement before discussing the agreement’s significance for the future of the space domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian National University Journal of Law and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • Spacex
  • nasa
  • space law
  • law and technology
  • international law
  • space traffic management


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