An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured this detailed photograph of San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1691, the city has been central to the history of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. San Antonio now ranks as the seventh most populated city in the USA (population 1,409,000) and boasted the fastest growth in the country between 2000–2010.
Several streams (left) served as the original population center in the region. To the east, high-rise buildings now cast long shadows on the modern city center. The Convention Center complex and the Alamodome sports arena dominate the view from space. Immediately south of downtown, the oldest remaining residential neighborhood has a dense, irregular street pattern, quite unlike the newer suburbs which show a more rectangular pattern.
Major interstate highways cross the image as gently curving features that compete with the stream courses. The campuses of two universities—Trinity and Incarnate Word—extend the green space around the large Brackenridge Park. Inhabitants are proud of the historical heritage of the city, which includes six preserved colonial mission churches. Mission Concepción stands closest to the city center. The convention facilities, missions, The Alamo, and the overall historical character of the city bring 26 million visitors every year.
Astronaut photograph ISS046-E-5093 was acquired on January 4, 2016, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 46 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab 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. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State U., Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.