Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson inspiring young Iowa stu - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson inspiring young Iowa students

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Astronaut Peggy Whitson has another record under her space belt.

This morning, the International Space Station commander surpassed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes for most accumulated time in orbit by an American. That record was set last year by Jeffrey Williams. As part of the celebration, Whitson got a special phone call from President Donald Trump.

President Trump said, "On behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of our world, I'd like to thank you."

Whitson responded, "It's actually a huge honor to break a record like this. It's an honor for me to be representing all the folks at NASA who make space travel possible and make me setting this record feasible."

Back here on Earth, she's influencing young students in her home state of Iowa. Third graders at Irving Elementary in Waterloo learned all about her accomplishments in Ms. Schweinfurth's class on Monday.

She said, "The kids were really excited about it and very engaged in conversation."

They spent the day calculating her time in orbit and writing how they would feel if they spent more than 500 days in space. 

8-year-old Samuel Macias said, "Now I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!" 

Another student said,"I would miss my family."

Whitson is proving how a kid from Iowa can grow up to do big things, beyond our planet.

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