On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked two planes and crashed them into New York City’s Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, killing 2,606 people – and satellites captured the horrifying scene from space.
Satellite images show a massive smoke plume rising from where the buildings once stood, which was spotted by the International Space Station (ISS) some 250 miles above the surface.
A NASA satellite equipped with infrared bands highlighted a number of hot spots blazing surrounding ground zero hours after the attack and another captured white dust still lingering over the devastation the following day.
In honor of the 19th anniversary, the American space agency shared a satellite images of lower Manhattan as it looks today, along with a shot taken by astronaut Frank Culbertston who witnessed the that fateful day aboard the ISS.
The satellite images reveal the attacks on September 11 and the destruction left behind over the next few weeks.
The Spot satellite was flying over Manhattan about three hours after the planes crashed into the towers.
The Landsat 7 satellite captured the scene on September 12, using its Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, allowing it to spot smoke flowing up from the ground.
Maxar’s IKONOS satellite snapped an image of ground zero on the same day as Landsat, but with its high-resolution capabilities, the image shows intricate details of the Financial District.
A massive cloud of white dust can be seen lingering over where the World Trade Center Towers once stood.
IKONOS took another image on September 15, giving the world an up-close look at ground zero, which was nothing more than debris and dust.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offered their services to officials following the attacks, but constructing a 3D model of the surround area.
The organization used LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to create a digital surface model to help locate structures, including stairwells, elevator shafts and basements.
The NOAA Cessna Citation II jet mapped ground zero using aerial photography, along with LIDAR technology.
Flights began on September 23, 2001, and ended October 15, 2001, each lasting about four hours.
Along with the attack in New York City, two other planes in American airways were also hijacked by terrorists.
One crashed into the Pentagon, killing 184 people – including passengers of the plane.
United Airlines Flight 93 was set to for the White House, but the 39 passengers took over the plane and veered it off course – it crashed into a field n Somerset County, Pennsylvania.