NASA has decided to try repairing the loose flap on Atlantis' thermal blanket. This will be done on a fourth EVA that has just been added to the three for ISS construction. Engineers on the ground are busy testing various repair scenarios. Every Shuttle mission carries at least two EVA spacesuits, called Extravehicular Mobility Units. Three EMU's are kept onboard ISS, in addition to Russian suits.
The EMU's are composed of individual parts that are assembled to fit each spacewalker. NASA is currently down to just 12 functioning portable life support systems. The EMU is simply too big to fit onboard Orion. At the end of the Shuttle program several EMU's will be kept permanently on ISS until they wear out. Museums are concerned that there may not be shuttle-era spacesuits left on Earth to display.
An Orion mission will need up to six EVA suits because Orion will have no airlock. If one person needs to go out, the entire crew must suit up and depressurise the ship. Where will they keep six EVA suits? Has anyone factored a ton of spacesuits in the weight of a 10-ton spacecraft? That will be in addition to the suits crews will wear for launch and landing. NASA wants a single suit system for Low Earth Orbit Access and EVA's, but so far the contractor community has fallen short. You're Going Out in That?
Thank the crews' bravery, for the Space Transportation System is in a fragile state. Atlantis' flight was delayed three months because the external tank was damaged by a hailstorm. Falling foam from the tank doomed Columbia and its crew. The tiles of the TPS frequently fall off--whose idea was it to cover a spacecraft with tiles? NASA is returning to the old Apollo solutions with Orion. Future Space hardware should be built tougher.