Nautilus SSN-571

On 30 September 1954, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN-571), was commissioned at Groton, Connecticut.

On 3 August 1958, she was the first U.S. vessel to transit across the geographic North Poleand the first submarine to voyage under the Arctic polar ice pack.

Decommissioned in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on 20 May 1982. Nautilus now serves as the historic submarine at the Submarine Force Museum at GrotonIn recognition of her pioneering role in the practical use of nuclear power

Following an extensive historic ship conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the submarine was towed to Groton, Connecticut, arriving on 6 July 1985. There, on 11 April 1986, eighty-six years to the day after the establishment of the U.S. Submarine Force, historic ship Nautilus and the Submarine Force Museum opened to the public as the first exhibit of its kind in the world. The unique museum ship continues to serve as a dramatic link in both Cold War-era history and the birth of the nuclear age.

Click the image for a larger view.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) on the ways at Groton, CT, Electric Boat Company.
Artist: Arthur Beaumont. Sketched from life at Groton, November 1953, at request of Office of Information, US Navy.
Gift of sponsor, Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhowser. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

NH 93401-A KN (Color)

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, is shown in the conning tower of USS Nautilius (SSN-571) during a short cruise on 24 June 1957, off San Francisco, California.

This was his first cruise on board a nuclear submarine. Her Commanding Officer, Commander Anderson attended a dinner in his honor and gave a speech at the press club. Fleet Admiral Nimitz and other officers and dignitaries also attended. NHHC Photograph Collection.

NH 58476

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) at sea, November 1955

National Archives Photograph, 80-G-K-18865

USS Nautilus (SSN-571). Undated artwork by John Landry.

NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 72609-KN

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) entering New York Harbor, 25 August 1958, after her voyage under the North Pole.

National Archives Photograph, USN 1037458


SS Nautilus (SSN-571) at sea, November 1955.

National Archives Photograph, 80-G-K-18864



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