I’m a HUGE fan of NORAD Santa and have been a fan and user since I can remember… so, to continue with my tradition I’d like to help spread the word about the awesome job the fine crew at NORAD does every year. Once again, beginning on Christmas Eve, you can track Santa Live as he makes his historic journey around the world! This time you can track him using Google Earth and get glimpses of Saint Nick captured with the NORAD Santa Cams. NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 (I recall using this fine service when I was a kid, albeit without the help of Google Earth at that time!).
Funded by generous corporate sponsors, these companies enable a fun tracking service by providing computer servers, web site design, video imaging, Santa’s tracking map, and even the toll free telephone number. The NORAD Tracks Santa Program is managed by the NORAD and United States Northern Command Public Affairs Office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Did You Know…
The tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. store advertisement for children to call Santa on a special “hotline” included an inadvertently misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first “Santa” call on Christmas Eve 1955.
So, ever wonder how NORAD Does it?
Sensors… NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft. Detecting Santa all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
Satellites – the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America.
North Warning Radar – This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America.
Sanata Cams – NORAD Santa Cams are ultra-cool high-tech high-speed digital cameras that are pre-positioned at many places around the world. NORAD only uses these cameras once a year.
Jet Fighters – Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, flying the CF-18, take off out of Newfoundland to intercept and welcome Santa to North America.
The skinny on How it works:
- The moment Santa leaves, NORAD starts tracking him with radar – these are the same satellites that monitor us against a misile attack.
- As Santa approches various regions of the World, a Santa cam will capture some video footage and publish the results on the Internet for all to see. The Santa Cam produces both video and still images.
- The last system used is the NORAD jet fighter. Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, flying the CF-18, take off out of Newfoundland to intercept and welcome Santa to North America.
- Tracking Santa with NORAD Santa will teach children not only about geography and Santa’s Route, they will also learn about the different traditions around the World and the various ways that people celebrate the Christmas Holiday season.
Want more on NORAD Santa? Yours Truly has been a huge fan of NORAD Santa for years. See also the following annual updates that we’ve provided over the years:
- Norad Santa – 50 Years of Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve
- 50 Years of Tracking Santa from NORAD
- Believe!! NORAD Santa prepares to Track Santa on Christmas Eve
- NORAD Tracks Santa… high tech equipment is used to track Santa around the world
- Prepare to Believe Again As NORAD Tracks Santa
- Following Santa Claus on His Journey With Google Maps and Twitter
- The NORAD Santa Tradition Continues with expanded Social Media presence – some history