In the 1950s, the Americans developed the first nuclear submarines. Atomic energy is then used for propulsion, which allows the vessels to remain underwater for several weeks.
An old dream
Launched on January 21, 1954, the Nautilus is 98 meters long and weighs over 3,500 tons. Able to navigate at up to 23 knots (43 km / h), in the following years it managed to cover nearly 170,000 kilometers (91,324 nautical miles), including 146,000 kilometers (78,885 nautical miles) underwater, before having to reload. its fuel. It thus becomes the first submarine to realize Jules Verne's old dream: to sail “twenty thousand leagues under the sea” (approximately 110,000 kilometers). On July 23, 1958, the Nautilus left the port of Pearl Harbor to carry out a secret mission, Operation Sunshine, and headed north. On August 3, she achieved her goal and became the first submersible vessel to navigate under Arctic ice and pass the North Pole.
Armed by 13 officers and 92 crew, the Nautilus carried out throughout its history many exercises in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean and participated in particular in the blockade of Cuba in 1962. In 1980, the submarine was withdrawn of active duty after having traveled nearly a million kilometers (more than 500,000 nautical miles). Two years later, it was decided to transform it so that it could be visited by the public. After three years of work, she was finally moored near Groton, Connecticut. It is one of the highlights of the American Submarine Force Museum.