With the space industry entering a new era of innovation and advancement—driven in no small part by money and energy from the private sector—Aviation Week is establishing a new bureau, our 17th, at Cape Canaveral. It will be run by Irene Klotz (pictured, with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos), a veteran aerospace journalist. Irene comes to us from Reuters, where she has covered space and science issues from the Cape since 2005 and earned a reputation as a tough and insightful reporter.

When Aviation Week last had a bureau at the Cape, in 2008, the U.S. space program had lost much of its luster. The space shuttle was nearing the end of its design life, with no replacement in sight. A new launch venture, SpaceX, was widely predicted to flop (though not by us), and NASA was hamstrung by bureaucracy, an indifferent public and the whims of politicians who controlled its funding.

Today, with commercial activities accounting for an estimated three-quarters of the global space market, Florida’s “space coast” has awoken from its slumber. Blue Origin is building a 750,000-ft.2 reusable-rocket factory next to the Kennedy Space Center. Across the street, OneWeb has broken ground on a facility to produce hundreds of satellites to provide affordable internet communications around the world. The debut of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launcher is drawing closer, and the company is aiming to refly its Falcon 9 booster with a one-day turnaround next year. For its part, NASA is preparing a launchpad at Kennedy for its new heavy-lift Space Launch System, which could one day loft humans to Mars.

While talk of colonizing Mars and building factories in low Earth orbit may seem fanciful, there’s no denying the radical reduction in launch costs now underway will open opportunities in space that have only been dreamt of before. We think Cape Canaveral provides an ideal vantage point. Meanwhile, Aviation Week’s global network of bureaus will continue to provide close-up coverage of space activities in China, India, Europe and elsewhere.

Irene steps into big shoes of legendary Aviation Week space reporters such as Edward “Harry” Kolcum, Zack Strickland, Craig Covault and Frank Morring, Jr. She can be reached at irene.klotz@aviationweek.com. Please let her know how you would like to see us continue to cover this vital industry.