One American has the singular distinction of witnessing the traumatic 9/11 events unfold from space. A month into his mission as Commander of ISS Expedition 3, Astronaut Frank Culbertson awoke to the news of the attacks like so many of us did. He grabbed the nearest camera and starting photographing the scenes in New York and Washington, D.C. from his vantage point some 250 miles over the Earth. Since he happened to be using a video camera, Culbertson also recorded audio commentary with his candid real-time reactions to what was happening. In his remarks, he juxtaposed descriptions of the destruction with reassurances that, in the wider context, these scars on the Earth are minor, "New York City is still very beautiful... The country still looks good." Only an astronaut could have made a statement like that on 9/11.
The Yahoo video! compiling NASA footage taken by Astronaut Culbertson is available below.
The day following the tramautic events, Commander Culbertson wrote a touching letter, describing his personal feelings about the 9/11 attacks from his unique perspective. I've pulled some excerpts from it below: