Proud to represent your country, to fulfill your dreams. This is how the American astronaut felt Frank Culbertson Jr. when he was notified that he would be part of the third human expedition of the POT to the International Space Station (EEI) in 2001. He did not know that his experience would make him the only one human being who saw the horror of the attack on Twin Towers the 11 of September of that year since outer space.

At the end of 18 years of the attack on September 11, 2019, the memories of Culbertson They are intact. It was 08:46 when the terrorist attacks hit not only the World trade centerbut also el Pentagon of Washington. The astronaut, on the other hand, was at 400 kilometers of the land Without knowing that thousands of lives were going out.

“They began to describe to me what was happening. The attacks on towers, the plane attack at Pentagon. I was notified that another plane was crashing in Pennsylvania. It was crazy, ”he said in a video broadcast by lto NASA in 2013. Culbertson's first reaction was to take a camera and point through the window he had in the ISS. "The weather It was good and everything was very clear. I saw the World Trade Center and a huge column of smoke that came from the city"He said.

Video: YouTube, account: NASA Video

He decided to bring the lens of the camera To have better vision. “I saw the long columns ofe smoke that came from Manhattan; the second tower was crumbling", remember.

Culbertson was overwhelmed. There was nothing he could do. "The more heartbreaking feeling of being where I am is the isolation”, The astronaut wrote in a letter addressed to the POT. Hundreds of miles away from earthly life, he could only feel helpless. "I should have been there, fight alongside you, deal with this, help…", lament.

This was the column of smoke that formed after the impact of the aircraft on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Photo: NASA

This was the column of smoke that formed after the impact of the aircraft on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Photo: NASA

The smoke it covered the city and Culbertson I saw it from him space. At that time, he understood that day would forever change the history of the United States. “Many things will never be the same since September 11, 2001. Not only for the thousands of people affected by this horrific act of terrorism, but for everyone, including the space exploration"He recalled.

Video: YouTube, account: NASA Video

One day after the attacks, on September 12, the astronaut knew that the pilot of flight 77 American Airlines that – kidnapped – hit the Pentagon was his friend Charles. Both forged one tofriendship over 15 years since they met at the United States Naval Academy. When he received the news, he could only sentence: “Tears don't flow the same in space" And he raised his friend's memory: "I know he fought bravely until the end …" he wrote.

After 9/11, Culberston he also had to overcome his own battle. Without a close relative and with emotional conflicts, the astronaut he had to fulfill his mission in the POT and he succeeded. After 129 days in space, he returned to the land on December 17, 2001.

The astronaut is currently the vice president of Flight Programs Company spaces Orbital Sciences

(tagsToTranslate) story (t) astronaut (t) September 11, 2001 (t) anniversary (t) terrorism (t) Al Qaeda (t) United States (t) World Trade Center


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