National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the 16th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on US soil that killed around 3000 people released images taken from space of the unfateful day in 2001.
US astronaut Frank Culbertson was aboard the International Space Station, which coincidentally, happening to fly over over the New York City area moments after the twin towers came down few hours after the Boeings were crashed into the buildings in the September 11 morning.
In a public letter the very next day of the terrorist attack, Culbertson said, “I glanced at the World Map on the computer to see where over the world we were and noticed that we were coming southeast out of Canada and would be passing over New England in a few minutes. I zipped around the station until I found a window that would give me a view of NYC and grabbed the nearest camera. It happened to be a video camera, and I was looking south from the window of Michael's cabin.
He wrote in the letter, “The smoke seemed to have an odd bloom to it at the base of the column that was streaming south of the city. After reading one of the news articles we just received, I believe we were looking at NY around the time of, or shortly after, the collapse of the second tower. How horrible…”
Culberston added, “It's difficult to describe how it feels to be the only American completely off the planet at a time such as this. The feeling that I should be there with all of you, dealing with this, helping in some way, is overwhelming. I know that we are on the threshold (or beyond) of a terrible shift in the history of the world. Many things will never be the same again after September 11, 2001.”
Even as the International Space Station moved along its path and lost view of the New York City, however other satellites of NASA including Terra satellite caught images of the attack’s immediate aftermath.
Terra’s Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiameter instrument recorded an image of large smoke plume rising from the city.