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Views of Egypt from Space Shuttle

Since the mid-1960s, astronauts have been photographing Egypt from their unique vantage point. The photographs I have selected for this page put Egypt in the context of its surrounding region and show the country from the Nile Delta in the north to Lake Nasser in the south.

All images are courtesy of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Egypt from Apollo 17

View of Egypt and adjacent countries photographed by the Apollo 17 astronauts on their coast toward the Moon. (9 December, 1972)

The Sinai and Delta

Panoramic view from a Space Shuttle of the entire Sinai Peninsula and the nearby Nile Delta. The Suez Canal, at the top of the scene just to the right of the Delta, connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez on the west side of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba is on the west where they both flow into the Red Sea. (13 October, 1984)


The Nile Delta contains some of the richest farm land in the world. The capital city of Cairo is at the apex of the delta. Giza, home of the Great Pyramid, is just to the left of the city of Cairo and the Suez Canal is just to the right of the delta. The large dark patch in the lower left is the Faiyum Oasis. Photographed by a Space Shuttle crew with the aft end of the shuttle in view. (13 October, 1984)

Middle Egypt

When this photograph was taken during the STS-56 mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the crew was about to capture an astronomy satellite (gold object) above the Nile River Valley. This view reveals the landscapes of the Sinai and the Gulf of Suez on the right. The Nile River Valley and the base of the delta dominate the scene, while the leaf-like appearance of the Faiyum Oasis is clearly seen to the west of the Nile. The city of Cairo is at the base of the delta. The photograph's coverage extends to just south of the town of Asyut. (17 April, 1993)

Upper Egypt and Lake Nasser

Upper Egypt and Lake Nasser are shown in this Space Shuttle mission photograph. The Aswan High Dam is in the middle of the scene with the islands of the First Cataract and the town of Aswan just above. The controversial dam was built to provide cheap hydroelectric power and to regulate the historically uneven flow of the Nile River. Note the contrast between the largely base rock desert east of the Nile versus the sand covered desert west of the river. (11 August, 1991)

Lake Nasser

The waters of Lake Nasser back up behind the Aswan High Dam in this Space Shuttle view. The dam is just visible at the top of the picture. (8 August, 1992)

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