Photo Index: Lake Malawi
from the Space Shuttle

In memoriam, shuttle Columbia
Some magnificent photographs courtesy of NASA, which I found using an image browser at NASA, reside locally at this website. (Sharper prints of the individual images can be ordered from NASA.) Most of these JPEG files range in size from 25 to 50 Kb; the two montages are larger. My links to Web resources for locating earth imagery from space are here.

Launch of Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-73 
    A stunning series of 17 photos of Lake Malawi was taken during mission STS-73 from the shuttle Columbia (seen at left taking off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on this mission on 20 October 1995). Those photos, taken during orbit 129, cover almost the entirety of Lake Malawi. The only area not covered is a 90 km stretch of the west shore opposite Likoma Island, from south of Nkhata Bay to Unaka Lagoon. All 17 images were taken in a 63-second period by an alert crew member. (I tried to find out which one, but NASA replied that they do not keep track of which crew member takes which photos and that the crews themselves consider photography to be a team activity. The crew [see crew portrait (245 Kb) and caption] for STS-73 were: Commander Ken Bowersox, Pilot Kent Rominger, Payload Commander Kathy Thornton, Mission Specialists Cady Coleman and Michael Lopez-Alegria, and Payload Specialists Fred Leslie and Albert Sacco. Think one of them's a cichlid lover?)

The photos from mission STS-73 are listed in the table below in the order taken, as the Columbia moved southeastward from a point in eastern Zambia ~220 km WSW of Nkhata Bay (Malawi) to over the north end of Lake Chilwa. A few images from other shuttle missions are included at the end of the table. Note that the latitudes and longitudes given are the shuttle's location, not the area viewed in the photo. Some of the landmarks visible in each image — if you know where to look — are summarized in the first column. Click on the hypertext in the right-hand column to admire each view from space!

View of


Shuttle Mission, Orbit

Shuttle's location

Altitude (nautical miles)


Montages of the Northern and Southern Halves 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 129Various 146 NMMontages
N end L. Malawi: Lufirio R. & Itungi Port (Tanzania); Karonga, Lupembe, Lake Chiwondo, Ngara 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12912.6° S, 32.5° E146 NMSTS073-756-036
N end: Karonga, Chilumba & Khondowe (Malawi shore); Cape Kaiser & Amelia Bay (Tanzania shore) 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12912.7° S, 32.6° E146 NMSTS073-756-037
Chitimba Bay, Khondowe, Mphandi Pt., Usisya, C. Manula; Tanzania: Amelia B., Tumbi Pt., Lundu I.28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12912.8° S, 32.7° E146 NMSTS073-756-038
C. Manula, Nkhata B., Chizi Pt., Sanga Pt.; Tanzania: Lundu I., Mbamba B., Ngkuyo I., Lukoma B. 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12913.0° S, 33.0° E146 NMSTS073-756-039
E shore: Tumbi Pt., Mbamba B., Lukoma B.; northern Mozambique shore almost to Likoma I. 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12913.3° S, 33.4° E146 NMSTS073-756-040
E shore: Likoma I., Chisumulu I., & shoreline to N.; Cóbuè, Ponta Póli 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12913.5° S, 33.6° E146 NMSTS073-756-041
East shore: Likoma & Chisumulu Is. south to Ponta Concande & nearly to Augusto Cardoso 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12913.8° S, 34.0° E146 NMSTS073-756-042
W shore: Bana swamp, Bua point, Nkhotakota, Sungu Spit, Sani, Chia Lagoon 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.1° S, 34.4° E146 NMSTS073-756-043
W shore: Sani, Chia Lagoon, Kirambu Point, Mbenji I., Domira Bay 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.2° S, 34.5° E146 NMSTS073-756-044
W shore: Sungu Point, Senga, Maleri Is., Chipoka; Mumbo I.; E shore: Makanjila Point 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.3° S, 34.6° E146 NMSTS073-756-045
SW arm: Chipoka, Malembo, Kasanga Bay, Mumbo I., Domwe I., Thumbi I. West, Nankhumba Peninsula 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.4° S, 34.8° E146 NMSTS073-756-046
Nankhumba Peninsula, Mumbo I., Domwe I. Thumbi I. West, Monkey Bay, Mazinzi Bay, Nkhudzi Bay 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.6° S, 34.9° E146 NMSTS073-756-047
Lower SE arm: Boadzulu I., upper Shire R., Mangochi, part of L. Malombe 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.7° S, 35.1° E146 NMSTS073-756-048
L. Malombe 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.8° S, 35.2° E146 NMSTS073-756-049
SE arm: Monkey Bay, Boadzulu I., E shore SE arm including bend at Makanjila 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12914.9° S, 35.3° E146 NMSTS073-756-050
'Bottleneck': Makanjila, C. Ngombo; Mozambique: Meponda, Gilambo Pt. northward; W shore: Senga 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12915.0° S, 35.5° E146 NMSTS073-756-051
Mozambique: Meponda & Gilambo Point northward 28 Oct 1995STS-73, orbit 12915.1° S, 35.7° E146 NMSTS073-756-052
SE arm L. Malawi; Lakes Malombe, Amaramba, Chiuta, & Chilwa 13 Mar 1995STS-67, orbit 17515.8° S, 36.5° E190 NMSTS067-701A-034
Northern Lake Malawi 7 Mar 1996STS-75, orbit 21910.7° S, 32.6° E169 NMSTS075-734-077



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Last Update: 14 August 2000
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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