NORAD Officials Ready to Track Santa's Flight
American Forces Press Service
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 9, 2009 North American Aerospace Defense Command officials are getting ready to track Santa Claus.
The “NORAD Tracks Santa” Web site, http://www.noradsanta.org, features holiday games and activities that change daily.
The site is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese. On Dec. 24, the Web site will stream videos, captured by NORAD "Santa Cams," from numerous cities along Santa's journey.
This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and TroopTube.mil. To follow on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the site’s search engine and start your tracking.
New this year, OnStar is providing its subscribers with live Santa updates as they travel in their vehicles on Christmas Eve. Subscribers simply push the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa's whereabouts.
Also new and beginning at midnight MST on Dec. 24, visitors to the “NORAD Tracks Santa” Web site can watch Santa as he prepares his sleigh, checks his list, and goes through all his preparations to ensure he has a successful journey.
As soon as Santa takes off from the North Pole, children can track him with up-to-the-minute Google Maps and Google Earth reports.
Santa trackers will begin answering phones and replying to e-mail at 4 a.m. MST on Christmas Eve. Children of all ages can call 877-Hi-NORAD (877-446-6723) toll-free, or can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORAD tracks Santa with help from many corporate partners. Booz Allen Hamilton designed the Web site. Other sponsors include Verizon, which donated the toll-free number; Time Warner, Avaya and PCI providing communications engineering; and OnStar, 5 Star Bank, Pepsi Distributing and First Choice Awards and Gifts keeping the trackers happy with food, beverages and souvenir tracking pins.
The program began Dec. 24, 1955, when a child dialed a phone number that was misprinted in a newspaper advertisement and reached the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The commander at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested: Santa’s whereabouts. This began the tradition of tracking Santa, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.
The program has grown immensely since it first was presented on the Internet in 1998. The Web site receives millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, its operations center will be occupied for 25 hours with more than 1,200 volunteers on Christmas Eve, who will be receiving hundreds of thousands phone calls and e-mails from families around the world.
(From a North American Aerospace Defense Command news release.)