Stunning photos of airports taken from space

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From bustling commuter hubs in city centres to small landing strips on desert islands, this fascinating collection of images shows what airports around the globe look like from space.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, 39, decided to show his love of aviation by documenting dozens of runways from an extreme vantage point, 250 miles up on the International Space Station.

The aerospace engineer and pilot’s stunning gallery takes viewers around the world, jumping from England to France to Africa. 

He even captured an odd location in the Australian outback where he suggests something mysterious is afoot. He commented: ‘The Australian outback hides lots of beauty, and some surprises. I don’t know what this is, but it looks strangely like an eyeball. It has its own runway and lots of regular shaped-buildings around. Secret military base?’

The European Space Agency spaceman also captured several French airports in tribute to his time as a commercial pilot for Air France, and snapped Heathrow Airport as a shout out to British astronaut Tim Peake.

Pesquet took off for his first mission into space on November 14, 2016, and in January he was the fourth French astronaut to perform a spacewalk as he installed new batteries on the flight craft.

Into the dust: 'I think I found the most isolated airport in the world lost in the desert of an Arabian peninsula,' Mr Pesquet said after spotting this remote tarmac strip lining the arid landscape 

Drop in the ocean: Mr Pesquet spotted this landing strip on an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar. He said the small sandy runway didn't appear to be in use 

West coast wonders: Dakar International Airport is the largest airport in Senegal and one of the fastest growing commuter hubs in Africa

On the water: Marseille airport, strategically located at the heart of Southern Europe, served 8.5million passengers last year

Commuter hub: Heathrow Airport in London has two runways, with airlines serving a total of 194 destinations 

Par avion: Thomas Pesquet said this photo of Paris from the air was for all of his friends and colleagues at Air France. The images show the capital's two airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly 

Spanish sojourn: Barcelona Airport, located seven miles southwest of the city centre, served more than 44million passengers last year

On the wish list: Mr Pesquet said he was meant to land at Beirut airport a while back but his trip to Lebanon was cancelled. He says he hopes to get there one day

Mr Pesquet said of this image: 'The Australian outback hides lots of beauty, and some surprises. I don't know what this is, but it looks strangely like an eyeball. It has its own runway and lots of regular shaped-buildings around. Secret military base?' 

Countryside commute: Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport, formerly known as Lyon Satolas Airport, is the international airport of Lyon, the third-biggest city in France

Far from home: Mr Pesquet is based at Cologne Airport when he's back on earth as it's where the European Astronaut Centre is based

Ooh la la! Montpellier–Méditerranée Airport, in southern France, is the country's tenth largest airport welcoming more than one million passengers each year

Ocean views: Nice is France's third busiest airport after Charles de Gaulle and Orly, both of which are located in Paris

Madrid Barajas Airport was opened in 1933 and in 1965 the airport adopted the title it is known by today, named after the small town nearby

Going Greek: Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, built ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games, took 51 weeks to build at the cost of more than €2billion

Cairo International Airport was built during the mid-1940s and served American Allied Forces. It was used for civil aviation purposes shortly after the  Second World War ended

Aloha! Honolulu Airport in Hawaii first opened in 1927 and was originally called the John Rodgers after a prominent local naval officer. By the 1950s it was one of America's top-three busiest airports 

Aviation pro: Pesquet took off for his first mission into space on November 14, 2016, and in January he was the fourth French astronaut to perform a spacewalk as he installed new batteries on the flight craft

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