Saturday, January 17, 2015

This Day In History: "Underway on Nuclear Power"

The USS Nautilus (SSN 571) was the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. Although officially launched in January of 1954, further construction and testing was required before she could be put to sea. On this day in 1955, Nautilus finally announced that she was "Underway on nuclear power."

By May, 1955, Nautilus broke the records for longest submerged cruise and highest sustained speed for a submarine. In February of 1957, the submarine reached her 60,000th nautical mile; i.e., the distance cruised by Jules Verne's Nautilus in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. On August 3, 1958, she became the first vessel to reach the North Pole.

SSN 571 made her final voyage in 1979 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. The submarine is now an exhibit at the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum near Groton, Connecticut.

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