NORAD’s amazing 60-year Santa tracking history

North American Aerospace Defense Command has tracked Santa’s route for 60 years


Pretty remarkable stuff here. The  National Archive blog takes a look at the background of the nation’s premier defense unit’s tracking of Santa as he travels around the globe delivering his Christmas goodies.

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 Some of the facts I thought were pretty cool:

  • This Christmas Eve will be the 60th year the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will have tracked Santa Claus’s journey.
  • Colonel Harry Shoup began the tradition in 1955, after receiving a phone call from a child expecting to reach Santa Claus. The misdirected call was the result of the child reversing two numbers of a Santa Line phone number printed in a Sears advertisement, according to the National Archives.
  • This year, 1,250 volunteers will staff the NORAD phone lines answering questions about the trip. The volunteers are a mix of Canadian and American military personnel and Department of Defense civilians.
  • The Santa Tracker hotline can be reached at 1(877)446-6723 starting at 3AM MST on December 24th and continuing through 3AM MST on December 25th.
  • Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
rtr4j77y Reuters

Inside the North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa Tracking unit in Colorado Springs, Colorado,

You can also e-mail for an update on Santa’s location on Christmas Eve.  NORAD’s official Santa Tracker site is here.

Not to be rolled over by the NORAD juggernaut, the Department of Transportation says it has “approved an application submitted by a Mr. Kris Kringle (d/b/a "Santa Claus") for special air transportation operating authority. That authority, limited to a single night.” According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Kringle has outfitted his vehicle, an "airborne sleigh," with an 8 RP engine and has on hand a ninth reindeer equipped with supplemental safety and navigation gear. The Federal Aviation Administration has inspected the unusual vehicle and certified its airworthiness.

Hope he has a drone tracker this year too.

Here's a National Archives video of the Santa Tracker:

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