USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. The vessel was the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with Captain Nemo's fictional submarine in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines.
Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. The submarine has been preserved as a submarine museum in Groton, Connecticut, where the vessel receives some 250,000 visitors a year.
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