Each year, NORAD, uses the latest in technology to track “Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick” as he makes his way around the world. They even manage to capture photos and videos in some locations. All of this information is then posted on their official “Santa tracking” website – http://www.noradsanta.org.
This is a great service that NORAD provides and, in my personal opinion, it’s one of the “coolest” things ever done by a government agency.
To think that it all started by accident. On December 24, 1955, a Sears store placed an ad in a Colorado Springs, Colorado newspaper advertising a phone number where kids could call Santa. Unfortunately, the number printed was incorrect and, instead of reaching Santa, children found themselves calling the Colorado Spring’s Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center – the predecessor of NORAD.
Rather than disappoint the children, Colonel Shoup, the commander on duty, told his staff to give children a current location for Santa. This tradition continued when NORAD replaced CONAD in 1958.
Today, volunteers, many who are employees from Cheyenne Mountain and Peterson Air Force Base handle more than 70,000 phone calls and thousands of e-mails, in addition to the website service.
The cost of this tracking is paid for by corporate sponsorship and is not paid for by American and Canadian taxpayers.
What is NORAD? It is the North American Aerospace Defense Command. According to its official website, NORAD ” is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States. The May 2006 NORAD Agreement renewal added a maritime warning mission, which entails a shared awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and inland waterways.”
It’s so wonderful that an agency, tasked with such serious business, could take time out to put smiles on the faces of little children across the globe.