- Historical event:
- 3 August 1958
- The USS Nautilus was the first nuclear-powered submarine in world history.
On this day in 1958, the USS Nautilus submarine reached the North Pole after sailing under the Arctic ice.
This was the first time in history that a submarine reached the North Pole underwater. The USS Nautilus was a nuclear-powered submarine, which allowed it to remain submerged far longer than diesel-powered submarines. Namely, diesel engines use up air for fuel combustion, while nuclear engines do not.
It is interesting that the USS Nautilus was also the first nuclear-powered submarine in world history. It was launched in 1954, and had a displacement of around 4,000 tons when fully submerged. Its length was 98 meters, and it had over 100 crew members.
The underwater voyage to the ice under the North Pole was conducted as part of the American Operation Sunshine. After passing the North Pole, the USS Nautilus continued on to Greenland and surfaced only after having crossed 2,940 km under the ice.