The world's first Soviet polar research drifting scientific station, “North Pole-1” began work on May 21, 1937. Five planes of the polar air expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences delivered scientists to the ice floe. The official opening of “NP-1” took place on June 6, 1937. The flag of the USSR was raised over the North Pole.
The station staff — hydrologist Pyotr Petrovich Shirshov, geophysicist-astronomer Yevgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov and radio operator Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel, led by Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin — lived and worked in a tent, studying the North Pole.
The size of the ice floe on which the station was located was 3×5 km, thickness 3 m. Every month, reports on the scientific work done were sent to Moscow. Every day was full of new discoveries. The drift of the ice floe made it possible to wander around the North Pole. Created in the area of the North Pole, the station “NP-1” after 9 months of drift to the south was taken out to the Greenland Sea. The ice floe swam over 2000 km.
After 274 days, a fragment about 30 meters wide remained from the ice floe. It was decided to evacuate the expedition.
On February 19, 1938, the brave explorers were removed from the ice floe by the ice breaking ships Taimyr and Murman. In March, polar explorers presented the results of scientific research to the General Meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad, which were highly appreciated by the scientific community.
The scientific composition of the expedition was awarded academic degrees. Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin and Ernest Teodorovich Krenkel received the titles of Doctors of Geographical Sciences.
For an outstanding feat accomplished for the glory of Soviet science and in the development of the Arctic, the four polar explorers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Also, this title was awarded to the pilots – A.D. Alekseev, P.G. Golovin, I.P. Mazuruk and M.I. Shevelev.