3 August 1958

The world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, becomes the first vessel to complete a submerged transit of the geographical North Pole.

The USS Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine and a significant milestone in naval history. It was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit across the North Pole, making it one of the most celebrated submarines of all time.

Construction: The construction of USS Nautilus began in 1952, and it was commissioned by the United States Navy on September 30, 1954.

Nuclear Power: The Nautilus was powered by the S2W reactor, a pressurized water nuclear reactor that generated steam to drive its propulsion turbines. This revolutionary propulsion system allowed the submarine to remain submerged for extended periods without the need to surface frequently for refueling.

Submerged Transit of the North Pole: On August 3, 1958, the USS Nautilus made history by completing the first submerged transit beneath the Arctic ice cap, crossing the North Pole and emerging in the Atlantic Ocean. This accomplishment showcased the potential of nuclear-powered submarines and marked a significant milestone in naval warfare and exploration.

Versatility: The Nautilus was not only a groundbreaking vessel for its nuclear propulsion but also demonstrated its versatility by serving in various roles throughout its active duty. It was used for reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, scientific research, and carrying out special missions during its operational years.

Decommissioning: After nearly 25 years of service, the USS Nautilus was decommissioned on March 3, 1980. Following its decommissioning, the submarine was designated a National Historic Landmark and became part of the Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut.

Legacy: The USS Nautilus’ successful implementation of nuclear propulsion paved the way for an entire fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, which revolutionized naval warfare and strategic capabilities. It set the stage for further advancements in submarine technology and extended the range and capabilities of submarines worldwide.

The USS Nautilus remains a symbol of innovation and exploration in the history of naval submarines, and its legacy continues to be celebrated and remembered by naval enthusiasts and historians.