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Happy Birthday, Neil Armstrong! Apollo 11 Moonwalker Would Have Been 89 Today

Today (Aug. 5), marks what would have been Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's (opens in new tab)89th birthday. 

Armstrong made history when, on July 20, 1969, he pushed human spaceflight forward and took humanity's first steps on the moon. Armstrong has remained a pinnacle of achievement for astronauts and continues to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds around the world. 

While Armstrong is most famous for his role as commander of Apollo 11, he was also an accomplished test pilot and previously flew on NASA's Gemini 8 (opens in new tab) mission. To commemorate Armstrong's birthday, NASA tweeted (opens in new tab) a heartfelt commemoration to the fallen astronaut, stating: "Neil Armstrong is remembered for many feats, including breaking records in aviation and spaceflight. On his birthday, we remember the man who inspired millions when he walked on the surface of the moon."

Related: Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong cuts his birthday cake while in quarantine at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) in Houston, on Aug. 5, 1969 — 11 days after the Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth.  (Image credit: NASA)

Fifty years ago, after returning from the moon, Armstrong celebrated his 39th birthday in quarantine at NASA (opens in new tab). The astronauts spent three weeks in quarantine after returning from the moon in case they brought back any "moon bugs." According to NASA, at this unusual quarantine birthday celebration, Armstrong blew out 39 candles on a "standard two-layer, plain vanilla" cake. 

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The NASA History Office tweeted out a short video (opens in new tab) of Armstrong blowing out the candles and included a warm birthday message: "We hope all of Neil Armstrong's wishes came true during his #birthday celebration in quarantine, 50 years ago today. Today, we #Remember him on what would be his 89th birthday."

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Chelsea Gohd
Chelsea Gohd

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.