Sometimes I get an itch to play mechanic simulator game, like a car mechanic simulator or latest Mech Mechanic Simulator. In those games you fix machines by taking them apart, unscrewing screws and then changing or repairing broken parts after which you have to put it together again. It's not very engaging, but having detailed models of cars, planes or whatever you are fixing, including all the parts and their insides, running diagnostics to find what's broken and some other additional features still make for some fun time.
What those games lack the most in my opinion, is some connection to the machines you are fixing, some story or reason – something what Elite have in great supply. Imagine, that while still having an option to repair ship in the station, explorers far away from civilization, some very frugal people or just someone who would want to do this could for example take apart their engine and fix them manually with parts 3d printed parts, mechanic simulator style! The most intimate relation with your ship ever! Also modding parts could be done that way, or what would interest me the most – finding derelict, broken spaceships and getting them working again for profit or free ship. What do you think about something like this? For me mixing those 2 genres together – spaceship simulator and mechanic simulator would be a match made in heaven – option to personally fiddle with your own, lovable ship and make her purr like she never did.