As the planet Krypton grew increasingly unstable and neared its end, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van placed their son Kal-El into this rocket, with a capacity for one, so that he might escape the planet's fate and ensure the Kryptonian race lived on somewhere else in the universe. Programming the pod for the planet Earth, they watched their child leave them forever, mere moments before the planet exploded and they met their end.
The rocket crashed down in Smallville, Kansas, where the infant Kal-El was found by Martha and Jonathan Kent. They raised him as their own son, Clark Kent, and in time he would become Earth's greatest defender: Superman, the Last Son of Krypton.
In the Earth One universe Kal-El's ship can replicate matter from energy to repair itself.