For many years, scientists of the various branches of natural science, as well as laymen who have been interested in the subject, have all been engaged in trying to bring about the realization of space travel. In most cases, these groups of people have formed national societies in their own countries in order to coordinate their efforts. These bodies, in turn, have joined together to establish the International Astronautical Federation under whose auspices the present Colloquium is taking place. While the first congresses of the IAF were devoted almost entirely to the study of physical and technical problems, and later on to the medical problems of space travel, space law has become—even though there has been a gap of some twenty years between the phases—a continuing subject of negotiation and discussion both inside and outside the IAF; the VIIth International Astronautical Congress, which took place at Rome in 1956, showed quite plainly that the problems of space law could only be solved by those lawyers who not only possessed the necessary competence, but also had a working knowledge of at least the basic principles of the technical and physical problems of space travel. Such basic knowledge should certainly not be taken for granted, as many statements made by jurists over the past years have shown all too clearly, but it is only by serious study that jurists who wish to contribute something of lasting importance towards the shaping of space law can become familiar with the technical fundamentals of jurisprudence in this sphere.
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