The International Space Station has been orbiting Earth at an altitude of 260 miles for the past two decades.
While its primary function is as a space laboratory to conduct scientific experiments in microgravity conditions, the orbital location also allows astronauts to conduct Earth observation studies as well as the opportunity to take great photos of our amazing planet.
Here we share a selection of the most dazzling photos taken during the month of July, all taken with a Nikon D5 DSLR and a range of lenses.
First, this stunning view of sunlight bouncing off the Coral Sea in northeastern Australia, while in the foreground we can see a pair of the space station’s main solar arrays.
The following image shows the Nile River winding towards the Mediterranean Sea, taken as the International Space Station passed over Sudan in northeastern Africa.
While passing over the Gulf of Mexico, an astronaut captured this remarkable photo of New Orleans and its surrounding suburbs, including Gretna, Mitari, and Keener. The Mississippi River is clearly visible while the edge of Lake Ponchartrain can be seen at the top of the image.
This stunning capture shows a tropical sunrise, taken from the station as it passed over Texas. The station’s high travel speed means that astronauts aboard the satellite experience about 16 such events in 24 hours.
This remarkable image, taken while the International Space Station is passing over the African nation of Namibia, shows the vast Namib Desert on the country’s Atlantic coast.
The sixth and final image in the collection shows an astonishing mixture of agricultural activity in western Brazil’s Bahia state, which NASA refers to as part of the Cerrado, a massive tropical savannah in the South American country.
Want to learn more about life on the space station? These awesome videos lift the lid on how the visiting astronauts spend time aboard the orbital facility.