The Russian MARPOST plan in its simplest form, to me, sounds like a great idea: Establish a manned orbital presence around Mars before deploying humans to the surface.
The Wikipedia article says that the plan was to have the design ready by 2012 and the ship ready by 2021, but it has no current information.
Is this mission still in the works or has it been canned? If it is still going, is it on schedule?
Why hasn't this sort of plan been considered by others? If it has, why hasn't it caught on?