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Norad Santa - 50 Years of Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve E-mail
Written by Glenn Letham (GISuser editor)   
20 December 2005
NORAD SantaUsing the North Warning System, a system of 47 radar system installations across Canada's North, NORAD will once again track the movements of Santa Claus as he sets out on his journey around the Globe on Christmas eve. NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa - radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft. This year NORAD celebrates 50 years of tracking Santa... congrats to the Colorado Springs-based NORAD crew and volunteers at Cheyenne Mountain and Peterson Air Force Bases on doing a fantastic job! Note: the site is published in 6 languages for all to enjoy.

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.

santa map

Using Microsoft's Virtual Earth app. development tools, visitors are presented with a nifty map linking to Santa sightings from around the World. See Santa Map Here

About NORAD Tracking Santa
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.

NORAD is the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada. NORAD was created by a 1958 agreement between Canada and the United States. The agreement has been renewed nine times - most recently in 2000.

Norad Santa is a truly fun and educational resource and a must-see for those of you that Believe!! This is a tradition here at the Letham household!

Norad Santa



Note: Other great resources on Norad Santa not to be missed include printable World maps to help track Santa's progress, Christmas puzzles and games, coloring pages, and downloadable music from the USAF and Naden bands.

Last Updated ( 02 January 2006 )
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