The photo above was not taken from a satellite, space station or the Space Shuttle; amazingly, it was shot with a common point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot A570 attached to a freaking balloon.
Not just any balloon, of course. Iowa firefighter and photo hobbyist Pete Lilja connects his Canon to a weather balloon, then sends it aloft to snap photos autonomously. A software hack allows him to set the camera to snap shots every 15 seconds during its flight, and an attached GPS transmitter in a cushioned box allows him to find the camera after it's returned to Earth. The shot above was taken at an amazing 100,000 feet above Iowa.
There's more on Lilja and other hobbyists like him at this Times piece.