USS Nautilus Nuclear Submarine
Nautilus Periscope

Submarine USS Nautilus Museum Photos

Nautilus Exterior Photos
Torpedo Room Photos
Officer's Quarters
Crew's Bunks
Attack Center
Radar, Radios, & Sonar
Control Room & Navigation
Crew's Mess
Other Interior Views

US Naval Submarine Museum Photos
Experimental Minisub SS X-1
Swimmer Delivery Vehicle SDV
Italian Minisub Maiale
Japanese Type A Submarine

Military Museums Main Page

US Navy Submarine Force Museum Website


SSN-571 Periscope Array Modern Submarine Helm SS-571 USS Nautilus Bow
Experimental Submarine SS X-1 Italian Minisub Maiale Japanese Type A Midget Sub

Submarine USS Nautilus SSN-571

The USS Nautilus is a the world's first Nuclear powered Submarine. The Nautilus's specs are:

Length: 319 feet
Beam: 27 feet
Draught: 22 feet
Crew: 13 Officers 92 Men
Displacement: Surface - 3,500 tons / Submerged - 4,090 tons
Max Speed: Surface - 22kts design, 17kts practical / Submerged - 25kts (reported - apparently at over 17 knots on the surface the sub begins diving on its own due to the hull's design)
Range: Limited to oxygen supply - estimated to be several months
Fuel Capacity: Reactor capacity unknown, but absence of fuel tanks allows for more room than in diesel subs
Diving Depth: 700' + (reported - all depth gauges are covered over)
Armament: 21" torpedoes in 6 tubes with 18 additional torpedoes for reloads
Power Plant: One pressurized water nuclear reactor producing 15,000 shaft hp to steam turbines driving twin screws
Launching Date: January 21, 1954 at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut

You can visit the Submarine USS Nautilus at the US Navy Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT.

The USS Nautilus Museum admission is free and the tours were self guided with a wand-like radio device that broadcast a different narration for each area of the boat (this worked very well). The interior was pretty much spotless. Almost all the areas are walled off in plexiglas but there wasn't so much as a smudge on any of it. The sailors must come in and clean it every night! It is a challenge for photographs with the reflection but most areas are well lit. The staff certainly had a sense of humor posing some of the dummies as you can see. The narration was well done and informative, and cut off sharply as you transitioned between areas. Unlike some other museums there are no tour guides but the staff was friendly and did answer what additional questions I had. Unfortunately the nuclear reactor room and aft areas of the sub are off limits, but there really is quite a lot of interesting compartments along the tour route.

The USS Nautilus museum building has periscopes visitors can use, a modern submarine helm center, various torpedoes and sub launched missiles, a replica of the Revolutionary War submarine Turtle, and a number of other interesting exhibits. In front of the museum are 4 minisubs - a Japanese Type A minisub of the type used at Pearl Harbor, the Experimental Sub SS X-1, an Italian Maiale minisub (the inspiration for the British Chariot), and the Swimmer Delivery Vehicle. There is also a full sized conning tower, a deck gun, and a ballistic missile hatch assembly. One of the more unique exhibits in the museum itself is the access elevator used to allow JFK to enter the USS Nautilus without having to use the ladder (Kennedy suffered a back injury that prevented him from using ladders).

The unique thing about the USS Nautilus Museum is that not only is it the world's first nuclear submarine, it is the only nuclear sub open for tours to the public.

Inside the USS Nautilus museum is a gift shop with a moderate selection of items, but oddly no Nautilus hats (a few months later the museum wrote that they had USS Nautilus hats in stock and I was able to order one from their website). There's no snack bar on the museum grounds however the nearest food is a short drive away on the Military Highway near 95. If you want to get there early there is no parking on site before the gate is opened - the gate is opened around 8:45. Check the museum's website for current hours. The USS Nautilus has steep stairs and is not handicapped accessible.

Other Submarine Museums and Exhibits
Fenian Ram USS Lionfish Intelligent Whale Sub