The National Aeronautics and Space Administration released a series of images captured from the International Space Station on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States. The International Space Station happened to be flying over the site of the terrorist strike in New York City when it took place on September 11, 2001.

Nearly 3,000 people had died in the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington and a Pennsylvania field that day.

United States astronaut Frank Culbertson was aboard the spacecraft as commander of Expedition 3, and was the only American off the planet that day. He, along with other crew members on board the International Space Station, captured some iconic images that day.

A file photo of smoke seen at the site at 11.30 am on September 12, 2001, from the Landsat 7 satellite. [Photo credit: USGS Landsat 7 team, at the EROS Data Center]
A file photo of a plume of smoke rising from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. [Photo credit: Nasa]

Culbertson had posted a letter the day after the attack documenting his reaction to the visuals of the attack seen from space. “It is difficult to describe how it feels to be the only American completely off the planet at a time such as this,” the astronaut had written. “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.”