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Munich International Airport, Germany

Munich International Airport, Germany

The Franz Josef Strauss, or Munich, International Airport served 29 million passengers in 2005, making it Germany’s second-busiest airport, after Frankfurt. The airport serves the Bayern (Bavaria) region of southeastern Germany, and is a hub for the Lufthansa airline. Like other large international airports, the facility occupies portions of multiple municipalities including Freising, Oberding, Hallbergmoos, and Marzling. During the construction of this airport, the village of Franzheim was demolished, and its 500 residents relocated.

The airport lies 31 kilometers to the northeast of Munich. Rather than being an extension of the metropolis, the airport is surrounded by agricultural fields and small towns. The agricultural fields in active use appear in various shades of green, while the exposed soils of fallow fields appear brown to tan. Roadways around the airport appear as thin, intersecting lines. The white concrete airport runways are 4 kilometers in length. At bottom center, the magnified shadows of clouds hang over the scene.

The airport grew in 2003 with the addition of Terminal 2, designed specifically to accommodate the needs of Lufthansa and its partner airlines. This astronaut photograph, taken from the International Space Station, shows enough detail to distinguish individual airplanes on the terminal apron (inset; white rectangle marks location on main image), and the dark gray-blue rooftop of Terminal 2. Astronauts achieve this level of photographic detail—the image resolution approaches 4 meters/pixel—by manually tracking the motion of the ground as the spacecraft orbits the earth at more than 7 kilometers per second. This photo was taken at a relatively slow shutter speed (1/60 second), which equates to more than 100 meters of ground motion. Precise astronaut tracking is required to improve the resolution in detailed images taken with long lenses.

Astronaut photograph ISS013-E-18319 was acquired May 12, 2006, with a Kodak 760C digital camera using an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Group, Johnson Space Center. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.