On this day: A Soviet icebreaker became first ship to reach the North Pole

The Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker among ice and snow.

The Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker among ice and snow.

Semyon Maisterman/TASS
Over 200 people were involved in the expedition

The Arktika Soviet nuclear icebreaker left Murmansk on Aug. 9, 1977 and headed for Novaya Zemlya.

On Aug. 17 the vessel, breaking heavy ice cover, became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole in the history of navigation. The crew celebrated the event by raising the USSR national flag on a steel mast erected on the ice.

Read more: Icehunters: Russian conquerors of the North Pole