US astronaut to visit West Virginia schools to empower girls

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A U.S. astronaut is visiting West Virginia to push girls to fly higher.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson is joining U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito for trips to two elementary schools as part of the West Virginia Girls Rise Up challenge. Capito launched the program in 2015 to empower the next generation of female leaders in the state.

The visits are scheduled for Tuesday at New Martinsville Elementary School and Madison Elementary School in Wheeling.

Whitson spent 288 days in space and returned to Earth in September. In all, she has spent 665 days in space — a record for a U.S. astronaut.

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