Habitats for living and other spacecraft will be built in space on site. Building materials will be mined and pre-processed to sort and bundle, then will be “thrown” away from the mining site into a trajectory toward the construction site. When they arrive, they will be “caught” and refined for final processing.
Large solar arrays will collect energy from the Sun and use it to “pump” a group of continuous lasers that are focused on a melting chamber capable of separating the raw materials into desired alloys, metals, and elements. Selected materials will then be re-combined into desired modular building components.
3D printers can extrude long structural support beams, panels, hull sections, interior walls, and even modular furnishing pieces. The beams and hull sections will be combined to form the basic structure of the habitat and sintered/welded together using a laser beam diverted from the melting chamber in the factory. Panels and interior walls will be printed in layers to build in infrastructure functions like: atmospheric pressure and temperature control, water plumbing, electric power, communications networking, and more.
Autonomous robotic space tugs will be used to catch mining payloads and to move other materials into various processing positions and other robotic machines will assemble the components into final form space craft and perform the sintering to join them.