Space Station Photo: Houston as Seen From Orbit

This detailed image -- photographed by an Expedition 24 crew member on the International Space Station (ISS) -- is centered on the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), located in the southeastern Houston, TX metropolitan area. While initially being represented by a number of temporary locations in Houston, the facility was established in 1961 as the Manned Spacecraft Center and renamed in honor of the late U.S. President Johnson (a Texas native) in 1973. JSC serves as the lead NASA center for both astronaut training and mission control of manned spacecraft - such as the ISS and space shuttle - and has done so throughout the history of the U.S. manned space program.

The Center also collaborates with other NASA and international partner facilities in a variety of scientific and engineering programs related to human spaceflight and planetary exploration. JSC is located approximately midway between downtown Houston and Galveston, TX, and is bordered by several smaller municipalities that form a mosaic of urban and suburban land use (grey areas with street grids, and commercial/industrial areas characterized by white rooftops). Large tracts of grassy fields and forests in the area (light to dark green respectively) include nature preserves, grazing lands, and flood control areas.

Also visible at upper left is Ellington Field. This airport services a variety of NASA aircraft used for astronaut training, scientific, and cargo transport purposes. Clear Lake, an inlet of Galveston Bay, is located to the immediate southeast of JSC. Both Clear Lake and Galveston Bay appear silver-grey due to sunglint, or light reflected back towards the observer on the ISS that gives the water surface a mirror-like appearance. Several boat wakes are visible in Galveston Bay (right) due to disruption of the water surface that reduces the sunglint effect. high res (1.6 M) low res (115 K)

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