Submarine Force Library and Museum


The USS Nautilus, constructed in 1952-54, was the world's first nuclear-powered submarine and, in 1959, the first vessel to cross under the North Pole. Construction of the Nautilus was made possible by the successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant by a group of engineers and scientists at the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission, under the leadership of Captain Hyman Rickover. The sub was involved in various developmental testing programs and broke many records for depth and endurance during her 26 years of service. Named a National Historic Landmark, the ship serves as a permanent floating exhibit at the museum.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Electrical, Mechanical, Nuclear & Petroleum
Topic(s):Space/Transportation
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The first submarine used in combat was the "Turtle," invented by David Bushnell of Old Saybrook, Conn., in 1773 to attack British warships in 1776. It was a small, egg-shaped craft constructed of wood and operated by one man who turned a propeller. The vessel was submerged by admitting water and surfaced by forcing out the water with a hand pump.