Friday, September 11, 2009

Watching 9/11 from space

September 11, 2001 is one of those dates that is permanently seared into the memories of all Americans, but there was one American who watched the events of that day unfold from a unique vantage point. Astronaut Frank Culbertson was in orbit aboard the International Space Station. Culbertson, along with the two Russian cosmonauts who were his fellow crew members, watched and filmed the events of 9/11 from space.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Patricia Phillips on about Culbertson's experience of 9/11:
"It's difficult to describe how it feels to be the only American completely off the planet at a time such as this," Culbertson told ground controllers. As the tragedy unfolded, Culbertson learned that a friend of his had been flying Flight 93 when its heroic crew and passengers forced its early crash in Pennsylvania, diverting it from another attack in Washington, D.C. Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

Culbertson spoke poignantly of exhaustion and a sense of isolation. He kept reporting their observations, including a "haze" over Washington, D.C., and the "odd bloom" of the smoke rising from the Twin Towers.
Please take a moment today to remember those crew members and passengers who perished on board the four hijacked planes, and all those who died on the ground as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.