So, having learned from the disasters of the past, they are building in an escape system from the beginning instead of trying to add one on later.
Orion's launch abort system will carry astronauts to safety in the event of a problem on the launch pad or during the spacecraft's climb to orbit. The first of five tests of the system, known as Pad Abort 1 or PA-1, is scheduled for fall 2008.It seems NASA is getting out of the trucking business and back into the space business.
Constellation is developing the Orion spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station and to the moon. Orion will be launched atop an Ares I rocket. The program is also developing a heavy-lift rocket, Ares V, to enable cargo missions to the moon. NASA plans to set up a lunar outpost by 2020, where astronauts will prepare for possible future missions to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.For a complete explanation of their exploration plans, see the NASA site.