Vast amounts of resources and energy in the solar system have the potential to offset the tremendous costs of lifting complete space systems out of Earth's gravity well. We understand that eventually we will need to produce everything in-situ so that only data need to be exchanged. Unfortunately, few can visualize how to get from where we are now to establishing infrastructure for in-situ mineral extraction, processing, and manufacturing. Recent advances in 3D additive manufacturing and robotics as well as our improved understanding of available space resources present a unique opportunity for additive construction of space habitats and, ultimately, a revolutionary change in the way space exploration is performed.
This short course gives an overview of the state of the art and of the key challenges to be overcome in order to gradually ease into in-situ production of structures and products that can offset the tremendous cost of bringing everything from Earth. By exploiting new in-situ 3D additive technologies to create space mission architectures, the dream of expanding human civilization into the solar system and creating a new space based economy will become possible.