NASA Releases Images Taken By ISS Showing Smoke Rising From World Trade Center On 9/11

7:50 pm 13 Sep, 2017


NASA remembered September 11 horror, one of the worst terrorist attacks in world history which shook the United States 16 years ago, on its anniversary.

As part of the remembrance, the US space agency released the images of the horrific strike that were taken from the International Space Station few hours after the attack.


NASA image



As per NASA, it was US astronaut Frank Culbertson who captured the images.

It is said that Frank Culbertson was aboard the International Space Station which coincidentally happened to fly over the New York City area moments after the two Boeings crashed into the twin towers on the morning of September 11.



A thick line of smoke can be seen rising from the buildings in this photo.

Culbertson wrote a letter the very next day of the terrorist attack describing his ordeal after hearing the news of the attack in downtown Manhattan and at the Pentagon.

He wrote:

“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.”


NASA image


He further wrote describing what he saw at New York around the time of the collapse of the second tower.

“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…”

“I panned the camera all along the East Coast to the south to see if I could see any other smoke around Washington, or anywhere else, but nothing was visible.”


NASA image

At one point the ISS passes in an angle of 180 degrees to the buildings.

The astronaut also expressed his difficulty to describe how it feels to be the only American being completely off the planet at a time such as this. He wrote:

“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. Not just for the thousands and thousands of people directly affected by these horrendous acts of terrorism, but probably for all of us. We will find ourselves feeling differently about dozens of things, including probably space exploration, unfortunately.”


NASA image



It is said that even as the ISS moved along its path and lost view of the New York City, other satellites of NASA continue to capture images of the attack’s immediate aftermath.

Image source: NASA

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