NORAD Tracks Movement Near North Pole

    December 23, 2005

With Christmas Eve just hours away, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, continues preparations for tracking that jolliest of elves, Santa Claus. A test conducted on November 27th tracked Mr. Kringle from the North Pole to Hollywood, California for the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

NORAD is the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for aerospace defense in the two nations. NORAD was created by a 1958 agreement between the Canada and the U.S. NORAD has been tracking Santa’s movements on Christmas even since that time, continuing the task started by it’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). This is the 50th year of this operation.

The operation is based on a robust network of radar and satellites as well as Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft. When the radar systems detect liftoff, satellites floating 22,300 miles overhead in a geo-synchronous orbit begin their job. These satellites track infrared heat signatures, most often generated by rockets and aircraft, or in the case of Santa’s sleigh, his team leader, Rudolph, because of his glowing red nose.

The third system used is the high-speed digital camera network called Santa Cam. The camera network, added in 1998, are prepositioned at various strategic points around the globe in an effort to track the movements of Santa and his team.

Finally, one of NORAD’s most effective tools in its mission, the squads of CF-18 fighter jets will intercept and fly escort with Santa once he hit’s Canadian air space. The fighters take off from Newfoundland and various pilots will be able to escort Santa and his legendary team of reindeer, include Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.

This advanced system is maintained throughout the year in preparation of this one day. This year, NORAD has a number of sponsors, including Windows Live Local, AOL, AGI, Island Web Studios, ICG, MCI, Akamai, Globelink, ClearCube and the Macerich Company. All these organizations assist in keeping the network ready and to allow people the ability to get updates by phone and through the Internet.

To assist in the tracking, a variety of celebrities also lent their considerable talents to the event. Some of the starts include John Schneider of Smallville, Patrick Warburton, better known as Kronk, the LAPD, Mickey and Jan Rooney as well many others.

For the latest updates, please visit the site, There’s video footage on the test run to Hollywood as well as video segments from the celebrities. It includes background on the event and printable maps to chart the movements of Santa Claus around the world. There’s also a hotline, 1-877-HiNORAD

From everyone here at iEntry and WebProNews, please enjoy a safe and happy holiday. Remember though, if NORAD can track him, he can surely track all of us, so be good for goodness sake.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.