While terrestrial self-replicating systems may be limited for some time to coevolution with Earth-based industry constrained by normal economic factors, the prospect for extraterrestrial applications is quite different. The difficulty of surmounting the Earth’s gravitational potential makes it more efficient to consider sending information in preference to matter into space whenever possible. Once a small number of self-replicating facilities has been established in space, each able to feed upon nonterrestrial materials, further exports of mass from Earth will dwindle and eventually cease. The replicative feature is unique in its ability to grow, in situ, a vastly larger production facility than could reasonably be transported from Earth. Thus, the time required to organize extraordinarily large amounts of mass in space and to set up and perform various ambitious future missions can be greatly shortened by using a self-replicating factory that expands to the desired manufacturing capacity.