The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is getting ready to tackle its annual holiday mission – tracking Santa’s storybook sleigh ride around the world.
Children and parents across the world can see just how far Santa and his reindeer are from their homes, thanks to a “Santa Tracker” that follows his route around the globe.
For over 60 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. In 1955, a Colorado Springs newspaper advert invited children to talk to Santa on a hotline.
But the number had a typo, and dozens of children mistakenly dialed the Continental Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, the predecessor to NORAD.
The officers on duty sprang into action and began passing along reports on Santa’s progress – and the tradition was born.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is getting ready to tackle its annual holiday mission — tracking Santa’s storybook sleigh ride around the world.
Peterson Air Force base in Colorado Springs has been working for weeks for its one-day mission.
Miles of wire, dozens of computers and 157 telephone lines will greet hundreds of volunteers Thursday. Volunteers will be answering calls from an estimated 125,000 children around the globe looking for Santa’s whereabouts.
The call center in a training building will be staffed starting at 1 AM on December 24, for 23 hours on Christmas Eve. Volunteers will also share Santa’s location on Facebook and Twitter. Last year, Santa got 1.6 million Facebook likes.
NORAD’s 60th year of tracking Santa involves more than the military. The program is underwritten by contractors who pay for the phones, the computers and the website.
This year, First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to volunteer, with calls forwarded to her on Christmas Eve.
Volunteers will field a growing number of calls from curious kids from outside the US.
“We get a lot of calls from Europe, Australia and New Zealand,” said NORAD’s Stacey Knott, who has organized the Santa tracking for three years.
Bilingual volunteers handle the foreign-language inquiries.
On the bilingual front, NORAD, a partnership between the United States and Canada, has a distinct advantage.
“The great thing about having Canadian forces here is they can speak in French,” Canadian Maj. Jennifer Stadnyk said.
NORAD is responsible for defending the skies and monitoring the sea approaches for both nations.
Its control room was originally inside Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs in a shelter designed to withstand a nuclear attack.
NORAD’s control room is now at Peterson Air Force Base, also in Colorado Springs.
The battle between internet search engines for prominence on tracking down Santa’s route has taken a new turn, as a fresh war over who gets to officially “follow” Santa this year took a surprising turn.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) – which has been tracking Santa from 1958 – has announced its switching its annual Santa tracking partnership from Google to Bing.
For the last five years, Google was the official Santa tracking destination as it had a contract with the search engine giant, slashgear.comreported.
But now, after the two organizations decided to take “different paths”, NORAD has switched its allegiance to Bing, while Google has branched out and made a new route that charts Santa’s journey around the globe.
According to NORAD, they “coordinate with Santa’s Elf Launch staff” to follow the route, which they describe usually starting at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean, before heading west.
They said: “Santa usually starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west. So, historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia.
“After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Keep in mind, Santa’s route can be affected by weather, so it’s really unpredictable.”
NORAD, which has been tracking Santa from 1958, has announced its switching its annual Santa tracking partnership from Google to Bing
The tracking of Santa began in 1955, when the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), began tracking Santa and then later switched to NORAD three years later.
NORAD is a U.S. and Canadian military organization, whose duties include aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning, around the clock every day.
NORAD says it uses four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets.
But now Google says it will track Santa using a new algorithm created by Google Maps engineers.
Users will be able to log on and trace Santa’s route using Google Maps and Google Earth starting at 2:00 AM Pacific standard Time on Christmas Eve.
It remains to be seen whether both trackers will show the same route.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.