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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 08:11 GMT
Space memorial for 11 September
Crew of the International Space Station, AFP
The crew are carrying flags for victims' relatives
American and Russian crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) and the shuttle Endeavour have held a televised ceremony to commemorate those who died in the 11 September attacks in the US.

The commander of the outgoing space station crew said they had seen the smoke over New York and Washington on the day of the attacks as their platform orbited the Earth.


We were flying over North America at the time, so we were able to look out one of the windows and actually see New York City under attack

Frank Culbertson, ISS Commander
Endeavour is carrying thousands of small flags intended for relatives of those who died in the attacks and also has on board a flag retrieved from the World Trade Center.

The Russian commander of the new crew said he was glad to see the US and Russia co-operating in the anti-terror coalition. Yuri Onofrienko said the space station programme symbolised the benefits of international co-operation.

'Terrible' sight

Frank Culbertson, commander of the outgoing space station crew, which has been on board since August, recalled what it was like when his team first heard of the attacks.

Satellite image of Manhattan after 11 September attacks, Nasa
The crew were able to see the effect of the attacks from space
"We were flying over North America at the time," he said, "so we were able to look out one of the windows and actually see New York City under attack.

"That was quite a disturbing sight, as you can imagine... I believe all three of us were thinking how terrible this must be for the people that were at the point of attack and for their families," he added.

Endeavour Commander Dom Gorie also paid tribute to "the armed forces around the world, are were doing their best to stop this global threat of terrorism".

Flying high

Mr Gorie said that the shuttle was carrying 6,000 flags that would be distributed later to the families of those killed on board the hijacked airliners.

Two were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one crashed in Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt.

Also on board is a US flag that had been flying on top of the World Trade Center, which was later retrieved from the rubble of the collapsed buildings.

International Space Station, AP
The ISS is held up as an example of international co-operation
"It has a few tears in it; you can still smell the ashes," Gorie said.

"It's just a tremendous symbol of our country. Just like our country was a little bit bruised and battered and torn, with a little repair, it's going to fly high and as beautiful as it ever could, and that's just what our country is doing," he added.

The shuttle is also carrying a flag found in the Pentagon after the attack, a flag from the State of Pennsylvania and another from the New York Fire Department, as well as a selection of shields from the New York police and fire departments.

New York's emergency services were amongst those who bore the brunt of the September attacks.

Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth with the outgoing crew on 16 December.

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James Hartfield of Nasa
"They welcomed a opportunity to express themselves"
International Space Station

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08 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
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