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USS Nautilus Sneaks Under North Pole

The world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, made the first trip to the geographic North Pole by traversing the Arctic Ocean - under the Arctic ice cap!

Commanded by Captain W. R. Anderson, the sub left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean, travelled through the Bering Strait to the Arctic Ocean - and reached the North Pole on August 3, 1958.

It did not surface at the Pole, but continued on, and after 96 hours and 1,830 miles / 2945 km submerged under the ice pack, the Nautilus surfaced in the Greenland Sea. It continued on to Iceland and England.

This may sound like an easy undertaking, but it was the third attempt for the Nautilus.

In 1957 a gyrocompass failure forced the mission to end before the sub was able to reach the Pole. Captain Anderson made another attempt in 1958, but again had to turn back due to heavy ice in the Bering Strait. The third attempt that same year was finally successful.

There have been many submarine trips under the ice since then.

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News Story:
British and Americans Rendezvous at Pole
Library: Arctic, Exploration
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