NORAD’s eyes in the sky keep watch for Santa

Each Christmas, the U.S.-Canada defense agency tasked with watching airspace in the Arctic also gives kids a way to follow Santa's progress around the world.

463
Volunteers answer phones during annual NORAD Tracks Santa event on Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado on December 24, 2016. (Tech. Sgt. Joe Laws / NORAD)

Don’t worry kids. The big man in red will make it to your house on time this Christmas Eve.

NORAD, short for “North American Aerospace Defense Command,” launched its 63rd annual Santa Tracker on Dec. 1.

The Santa Tracker’s revamped website provides different ways for kids to follow Santa Claus as he prepares for his annual Christmas journey.

NORAD, a U.S.-Canada defense agency, is in charge of aerospace and maritime warnings in the United States and Canada, as well as monitoring aerospace around the globe.

But each year since 1955, NORAD’s secondary mission has been to track Santa as he travels around the world during the holidays.

“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight,” said General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the commander of NORAD’s northern operations.

“The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States.”

NORAD’s new Santa tracking website, in eight languages, features a holiday countdown, games and information on NORAD’s mission.

Additionally, there are social media channels, a Santa Cam video stream and a call center that operates around the clock on Christmas Eve, a Royal Canadian Air Force news release said.

More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to join NORAD on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to help track Santa’s journey, the news release said.

NORAD’s Santa website went live Dec. 1.

On Dec. 24 anyone can call 1-877-HiNORAD to find out Santa’s up-to-date location starting at 6 a.m. EST. They can also send an email or follow along on social media.

As well, on Christmas Eve, starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight.

“NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere,” the news release said.