USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the vessel to complete a submerged transit to the North Pole. It was commissioned by the United States Navy in 1954 and served until 1980 when it was decommissioned and turned into a museum ship.
The Nautilus was designed and built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Connecticut, and it was launched on January 21, 1954, by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. It was powered by a nuclear reactor that allowed it to operate underwater for extended periods without the need to surface for air, giving it a significant tactical advantage over conventional submarines.
The Nautilus made its historic journey to the North Pole on August 3, 1958, under the command of Commander William R. Anderson. It became the first ship to reach the geographic North Pole by passing under the Arctic ice cap, and it opened up new possibilities for Arctic exploration and military strategy.
Throughout its service, the Nautilus was involved in various missions, including intelligence gathering, surveillance, training, and research. Its advanced propulsion system and capabilities paved the way for developing subsequent nuclear-powered submarines, which are a vital component of the US Navy’s submarine fleet today.