How "Universal body history" changed the design of escape pods forever.
Actually, nowadays escape pods don't even have fuel, sail or any sort of propulsion after the ejection stage.
Any device holding passenger with a propulsion system is cataloged as spaceship, not as escape pod.
The cost of delta-v
Old pod designs used to have propulsion, but it's been abandoned due to astronomical cost. They could not perform atmospheric re-entry without crashing or maintain life long enough or once down the gravity well, so the best best would just be to group together and stay in space.
As seen in other answer, space is huge so don't waste collective efforts rescuing Joe Noobpilot. Old designs used to let fully automated pods group themselves.
Due to space flight mechanics and the cost of delta-v, pods ejecting from the ship hull in all directions using rockets would not be able to fly into parallel routes, let alone group together. One solution: the pods would have to slowly drift from the main ship, not good to escape an impending explosion. Or be ejected using rockets from a limited number of flat areas on the main ship hull. Flat, so that they flee from the ship with parallel trajectories to stay somewhat grouped, limiting the cost of chasing them.
All those reasons have led to ban of manual override of fuel systems.
But that's no longer much of a trouble, because everything changed with universal body history.
How universal body history solved the delta-v problem.
Matter is costly. Rescue bodies, sure, but don't rescue matter.
Space is huge so the chances of being rescued are indeed zero. Sure, radio beacons, etc, but simply it's too expensive to send matter there to gather more matter.
Let's just broadcast via radio a diff of the body structure.
Whenever you visit a place where your civilization is represented (spaceports on planets, orbital stations, major ships), your body is already scanned down to the atomic level for identification and health check-up, something Federation and all human rights accepted since the Great Epidemic. The information is kept in a compressed history of scans similar to Git, one copy in your civilization's records (synced between sites), a few copies kept on you (it sometimes has allowed to locally rebuild a full body from parts like in The Fifth Element).
Rescue information, efficiently
What the escape pod does is to cryogenize your body, scan it again, add that to local history with a git commit, which make a very concise diff than is sent via radio signals. Repeatedly. Until it runs out of energy. Using Fountain codes for resilient one-way transmission. Then the atoms in the pod just statistically lie there in the huge eternal void of space. Not rescuing matter is what the Federation wanted.
Fuse matter to send energy
Interestingly, limited data (thanks to history compression) and supercold fusion of the atoms making up your body and the pod make enough energy to broadcast the signal to the whole solar system. In virtually every case, several sites can catch the signal reliably. Most of the mass of the pod is the supercold fusion device. The final state of body in pod is a shiny wad of iron atoms.
Build back the body from other atoms
Receivers will pick the signal and attach it to your git history.
Rebuilding the body is just the second half of plain old teleportation which Federation and the progressive wing of human rights activists already agreed upon.
Your civilization rules will figure out where and when to rebuild your body (due to Duplication Ban Act).
You'll wake up in that place, with memories about what happened (though, telemetry data will often be more useful that your memories to know what happened).
Human right benefit of the fuel-less pod.
The atoms that made up your body aren't actually important. You swap them with strangers any time you take a teleporting device anyway. It's a quicker and cheaper way to journey through Sol anyway.
The actual benefit of a rescue pod is to keep your body intact long enough for a scan and provide the latest and freshest state to resurrect you, instead of the state of your last visit to a major site. That's why human right activists accepted the scheme, even for individuals that object the use of teleporters (you know, that regressive wing of the human right activists). It's also why there aren't always as many escape pods as there are passengers. Some passengers prefer to revert to the state before the flight, anyway, so the escape pod is of no use to them.
Ah, those people regressive and rich enough to still use physical travel... they finance the regressive part of society, but the fair disputation procedure managed quite a good compromise!