NASA Commemorates 9/11 with New Photos of New York from Space

World Trade Center Sept. 12, 2001
A plume of smoke rises from what had been the site of the World Trade Center in New York City at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 12, the day after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers during a terror attack. (Image credit: USGS/EROS)

Seventeen years after 9/11, NASA is commemorating the anniversary of the tragic terror attacks with new photos of New York City and Washington taken from space.

"Today, we remember the victims, survivors and heroes of #September11th," NASA tweeted, along with a new photo of New York City captured by NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold at the International Space Station on June 19.

Arnold's image shows the site where the World Trade Center stood before two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. A new tower, One World Trade Center, was built near the Ground Zero memorial. The new view offers a stark contrast to the images of debris, dust and smoke seen from space for days after the attacks. [9/11 Remembered in Space Photos]

In another photo from the space station, you can see the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the bridge from Washington. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet captured this photo on April 11, 2017.

At the time of the attacks, NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson was the only American not on planet Earth. He saw the smoke while at his post on the International Space Station and began documenting the event from his unique vantage point about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold took this photo of New York City from the International Space Station on June 19, 2018. (Image credit: Ricky Arnold/NASA)

"The world changed today," Culbertson wrote in a public letter published shortly after the attacks. "What I say or do is very minor compared to the significance of what happened to our country today when it was attacked."

You can see more astronaut and satellite photos of the 9/11 attacks as seen from space and read more reflections from NASA in this blog post.

The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., which was also struck by an airplane during the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, is visible in this photo taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet on April 11, 2017. The five-sided building, which serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense, is visible at the center right of the image, just across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. (Image credit: Thomas Pesquet/ESA)

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.