On the tarpol
The human figures just visible in the image were originally intended to be in the foreground. Eventually, however, the spaceships came to dominate the scene, and the figures were moved progressively backwards. The figures were imported from Poser, all other objects were constructed from Bryce primitives. The figures should perhaps have been rendered separately and then imported as a picture, for a smaller scene file and faster rendering.
The ground was made by merging two textures to produce a kind of stained checkerboard effect. The launch towers were constructed by repeated duplication of simpler components.
The term 'tarpol' comes from Brian Stableford's "Hooded Swan" series; the Laurie Anderson citation was chosen because it gives the idea of the ascent and descent of a spacecraft (although Anderson's song refers to the Thomas Pynchon novel in which it's the rise and fall of the V2 rocket which is intended).