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CHIPS Articles: Nautilus SSN-571, First Nuclear-powered Submarine

Nautilus SSN-571, First Nuclear-powered Submarine
By CHIPS Magazine - September 30, 2014
On Sept. 30, 1954, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN-571), was commissioned at Groton, Connecticut.

On Aug. 3, 1958, she was the first U.S. vessel to transit across the geographic North Pole and 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 May 20, 1982, Nautilus now serves as the historic submarine at the Submarine Force Museum at Groton in 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 July 6, 1985. There, on April 11, 1986, eighty-six years to the day after the establishment of the U.S. Submarine Force, the 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.

For more information on U.S. Navy history, please go to the Naval History and Heritage Command website:

SS Nautilus (SSN-571) at sea, November 1955. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-18864.
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