Hi everyone! Wahoo….look at me! I’m sitting in front of the Control Panel of the USS BULLFISH (SSN 676).

The BULLFISH was a Sturgeon class submarine, designed and built by General Dynamics/Electric Boat in Groton, CT, in 1970. It was about 292 feet in length and had a 32 foot beam. The BULLFISH did not run on diesel fuel like earlier submarines, instead it used nuclear propulsion. My friends explained that the submarine has a nuclear power plant on board. They told me that nuclear power works by the controlled splitting of atoms, which leads to the release of energy, (mostly as heat.) This heat energy is used to heat water, which makes steam. The steam can be used to move the ship, by driving turbines, which then turn a propeller. The steam can also be used to drive turbines in generators which can supply electricity for all of the Submarine’s systems, including, lights and oxygen makers. That’s pretty fancy!

It takes specially trained people to run a submarine like this. I guess they’d have to be pretty smart and they’d have to really pay attention! Did you know that submariners have to go to school to learn all of this stuff? I know it’s always important to pay attention in school, but they have to REALLY pay attention. A lot of people’s safety depends on it.

The control panel that I am sitting at is from a Sturgeon Class Submarine Attack Center. The attack center contains the ballast control panel (we learned about ballast yesterday, remember?), the ship’s control panel (where the ship’s depth, course, and speed are controlled), and the fire control system (where other ships were tracked and also where weapons were controlled). Look at all of those buttons, knobs, and levers!!

Holy cow! I was afraid to touch anything, but my friends told me that it was OK to play with everything. Even though it wasn’t attached to a real submarine, I pretended that I was in a real submarine and we went to Australia. (I’ve always wanted to go to Australia…maybe on my next adventure. What do you think?)
See you tomorrow!
Your friend,
Stanley - Control Panel