(1958) America’s nuclear sub first to glide under the North PoleThe world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, is now the first seagoing craft to reach the geographic North Pole. The ‘Operation Sunshine’ sub will spend 96 hours traveling nearly 2,000 miles under the Arctic ice and boost US morale a year after the Soviets launched Sputnik.USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. The vessel was the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with Captain Nemo’s fictional submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines.
Keel laid: 14 Jun 1952 Launched: 21 Jan 1954 Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat