Ever since airliners grew complicated beyond the pilot's ability to fix them, and before computers put all the second officers into obsolescence, aircraft used to carry flight engineers. Some still do - Boeing 727s, McDonnell Douglas DC-10s and the Aerospatiale/BAe Concorde.

Although the position became a place where new, and over-60, pilots hung out, many carriers still require that flight engineers be licensed engineers as well. How difficult would it have been to have one of the seven astronauts trained in some kind of maintenance/ repair function and have the ability to spacewalk?

From all reports, even if NASA had known what the problem was before re-entry, there was nothing it could have done. Shouldn't someone on the crew be trained to do something in case of a potentially catastrophic emergency?

Darcy Vernier North Hollywood, California, USA

Source: Flight International