Orbital Habitats or simply Orbitals or Habitats are a variety of human settlements in space that are not confined to the surface of a large planet or moon. Most space colonies were constructed from asteroids or comets from the Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt, the first being mining colonies constructed in the early 2020s. As of 2132 space colonies number in the thousands, from small habitats to the Mexican Orbitals.
Orbitals were the first colonies, built out of Near Earth Asteroids and used either as mining or manufacturing satellites. At present, the largest orbital colonies are Mexico's Lagrangian Orbitals, which are as large as the larger O'Neil Ships. Orbitals are used primarily for processing space-based resources, though Mexico's have been largely converted into military installations since their initial creation as off-world economic zones. Most reside near Earth, and are largely used for manufacturing, research, and military purposes. Only a handful are self contained communities, the largest by far are Mexico's Lagrangian colonies, while most of those the US uses are either farmworlds, or luxury worlds for the super-rich (the latter are some of the only colonies that do not participate in the ITC and are still technically part of territories on Earth.) The rest are used for trade, mining, and infrastructure care and maintenance. Outside of Earth, there are orbitals that serve these purposes as well, but the overwhelming majority are gas mining stations in the outer planets.
The largest of these colonies are the O'Neil ships that travel along the Interplanetary Transport Network ferrying cargo and passengers between the major colony worlds.
Platforms are relatively small colonies that serve as the counterweights and harbors for Space Elevators. The largest Platform in the system is the New Richmond Starport.