Nautilus was commissioned Sept. 30, 1954.
The Navy celebrated yesterday the commissioning of the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, 60 years ago, at a ceremony at the Submarine Force Museum and Library in Groton, Connecticut.
The nuclear reactor in the Nautilus allowed it to stay underwater for four months, unlike the diesel-powered subs that had to surface periodically to recharge batteries when underwater.
The Navy said the possibility of nuclear-powered vessels was just a dream in 1946 until the successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant by scientists and engineers at the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission. The program was driven to completion under the leadership of then-Capt. Hyman G. Rickover, widely known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy."
The success of the Nautilus led to the Navy embracing nuclear power for all its submarines, followed by Russia, France, the United Kingdom, People's Republic of China, and India.
In an age when a new mobile phone app is called “revolutionary,” it’s good to have a reminder of the truly revolutionary breakthroughs in technology embodied in the Nautilus.
For more on the Nautilus, check out this article in the Naval History Blog.