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NASA had a 1980 study° of space fabrication systems where they referred to small, light, hard-to-manufacture parts as "vitamins." These vitamins (ICs certainly, perhaps special sensors or high-quality optics) would likely be the last part of the manufacturing system to be moved from Earth into space due to the complexity (=mass/volume) of fabrication and relative ease of transportation.

°http://www.islandone.org/MMSG/aasm/AASMIndex.html




This terminology also got carried on top the self replicating 3d printer world. Any part that cant be produced by a printer is a vitamin.




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