You're always in VR? I bet Elite is awesome that way.
I decided to go ahead and unlock the engineers at Colonia. I may as well make the most of this visit, and maybe stay around for a while. I whistled for my mining Krait to Caravanserai and she's on the way. I'll depart soon to Colonia, but with another big swing out to starboard to start finding some ELWs I hope, before turning back in on the approach to Colonia.
I believe most every ship and module is available there, and there is a full economy with stations for trade and missions. All mat traders too. Maybe I'll buy some new ship and build access rep with engineers by engineering it. What an adventure this is turning in to.