ISS042-E-280970

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Spacecraft nadir point: 4.4° N, 41.9° E

Photo center point: 11.4° N, 43.4° E

Nadir to Photo Center: North

Spacecraft Altitude: 215 nautical miles (398km)
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Image Caption: Djibouti and the southern Red Sea

Astronauts flying in the International Space Station took this image of the south end of the Red Sea (image lower right) and the Gulf of Aden (image left). Here the coastlines of Africa (upper part of the image) and Arabia (lower part of the image) are less than 30 km apart at the narrow point.
Most of the small country of Djibouti, mainly underlain by dark volcanic rocks, is shown in this view--its long axis stretches from the Red Sea coast 220 km to Lake Abhe (image top right). Yemen lies across the Mandeb Strait (lower part of the image). Djibouti is strategically positioned on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea (and the Mediterranean beyond) and the Indian Ocean. For this reason it was occupied by France during the colonial era, while the opposite coast of Yemen was occupied by the British. Today Djibouti's port, located in the protected Tadjoura Gulf, acts as a key refueling point and import-export hub for cities inland in Ethiopia. Djibouti also hosts various foreign military bases.