LaunchMighty menace charged and poised. Rightly you should not be here,
Save for man’s desire to build you, Power, beauty, grace, and fear
Each new second you stand ready, Fuel pumped in through countless lines
Forced inside you, under pressure; Sensors search for problem signs

Huge steel gantry, mother feeding, liquid air and kerosene
Satisfies the obscene thirst of you, the greatest flying machine
Crude computers tease out trouble that could spell the end of this
Pressure in your tanks is building, Valves that overflow now hiss

You are mostly now propellant, all but for your metal skin
Stiffened by the pressure build up of the fuel you’ve had pumped in
Yet the seconds backwards counting uses all this time to see
Where an errant piece of wiring or a pressure leak may be

Tanks are almost fit to bursting as the last few seconds slip
Millions of commands are waiting to unleash you on your trip
Guidance now is made internal, fifteen seconds left to go
Power transfer now completed, launch pad drenching starts to flow

Seven seconds now remaining. Ignition sequence comes on line
Sparks fly underneath each nozzle, giant turbines start to whine
The turbines have some awesome muscle, powered up like thirty trains
Rigged to drive the massive pumps to draw the fuel like monsoon rains

Flooding out combustion chambers, outside sparks ignite the brew
Cataclysmic, untold pressures explode outwards, savage, true
Then the pumps they now deliver fifteen tons per second sent
Straight into those chambers, where fuel and oxygen are spent

Now the trust is really building. God of light revealed in flame
Indicate that thrust and weight are balanced out to read the same
Yet more thrust is generated, Saturn‘s tugging at the ground
Hold down arms are disconnected, fuel lines sever, swinging round

Now the moment you’ve been waiting, you are free of earth and ground
Hovering just inches, rising, lifted by the flames that pound
Flames and thrust are now deflected just about a mile each side
Sensitive hydraulic movements move each flame for stable ride

All around this air is punctured, crackling, blasting, sonic roar
Sound that’s felt as well as heard, as man takes in this sound of awe
Guidance system keeps the balance like a broom upon a hand
Massive weight of fuel and rocket fights each foot above the land

Finally the tower is cleared; speed is building right on cue
Giant white and glistening spacecraft heads beyond the airy blue.
Soon the black of space will greet her. Soon the orbit takes the strain
Soon she’ll head for moon and history. Never to be used again.

Launch a poem by Richard Coppin

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