Soviet government's plans to provide reliable meteorological forecasts for the Northern Sea Route were fully consistent with the dream of one of the first Heroes of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Vodopyanov, to visit the North Pole. Fortunately, he was served the honor of landing the first Soviet expedition on the Pole. Vodopyanov managed to succeed. On May 21 1937, he landed his airplane on nice virtually at the top of the globe. And flew back while the four men, not counting a dog – a black dog named Vesyolyi, were left drifting on the ice.
The supervisor of the expedition Ivan Papanin, the hydrobiologist Pyotr Shirshov, the geophysicist Evgeny Fyodorov and the radio operator Ernst Krenkel finished their drift at the North Pole 1 station only next year and unwillingly so as the ice floe broke apart. Interestingly, the four heroes also had been lucky in their later lives. All became the Heroes of the Soviet Union (Papanin was awarded the title in 1937, followed by all others in 1938) and were appointed to high-ranking positions. None were persecuted during the Great Purge. They left memories of their experiences amid polar ice.